OUR VIEW: Internet justice?

Published on Tuesday, 7 August 2018 19:33
Written by The New Britain Herald

Southington’s POP Squad claims to have exposed another alleged sexual predator.

Police acknowledged they are investigating a former swim coach in both the Plainville and Bristol school districts after the Prey on Predators Squad website posted a video of Nick Daddabbo showing up to allegedly meet a 14-year-old boy the POP Squad claims he was chatting with over a three-week period.

According to a member of the POP Squad, Daddabbo’s chats with the adult posing as an underage boy were sexual in nature. The video shows Daddabbo showing up to meet the boy where he was confronted by a POP Squad member.

Daddabbo’s position with the Bristol school system was abruptly severed after he was identified as the man in the video. So far, no charges have been filed against Daddabbo.

We wonder if the POP Squad and their style of justice is a help or hindrance to police and the courts.

According to its website, the POP Squad has done 105 investigations, and some of them have resulted in criminal charges.

Technically, private individuals like those of the POP Squad are not entrapping potential criminals through their tactics of posing as underage boys or girls online because they are not law enforcement officials.

In previous conversations with Press/Herald reporters, POP Squad members say their goal is to expose inappropriate and potentially sexually criminal behavior and to alert the public and authorities to targeted individuals.

And while their motives appear to be altruistic, we have concerns about the possible negative consequences of their actions including unknowingly interfering with an ongoing police investigation or mistakenly accusing the wrong person of deviant behavior.

There is little doubt that the rate of sexual assault is increasing. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted, every 8 minutes the victim is a child.

Local police departments don’t have the resources to battle the increase in internet sex crimes, but that shouldn’t serve as the only reason for individuals to take matters into their own hands. Sex crimes aren’t going away. Neither are the abusers and pedophiles that commit them. Catching predators isn’t just a police problem or a POP Squad problem, its everyone’s problem.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Tuesday, 7 August 2018 19:33. Updated: Tuesday, 7 August 2018 19:35.