On a rainy friday afternoon in Portland, my son Jace decided to look through the craigslist personals ‘casual encounters’ section.
At the time Jace was 20. He is decidedly an introvert, immature for his age, and his best friends are all online – in his gaming community. So when it comes to meeting women he is at a disadvantage.
He had a steady girlfriend for years, high school sweetheart, who moved off to college. They did the long distance thing for a while but, as so often happens with young love, it slipped away.
He’s since told me that he did have a few hook ups in those two years after Vicki, from people on craigslist ‘casual encounters’. He was cat fished once (old man answered the door), lied to once (woman sent a picture of someone else), and connected twice. Once with a woman about 25 and the other lady around 30. I asked him if he was ever scared he might get robbed, or beat up, but he said no – he would go meet them at their door. If they were who they said they were fine, if not he would just leave, as with the one woman who had lied.
So on this particular friday at 3:26pm, Jace answered a woman’s ad on the adults only no strings attached website looking for sex. The ad read…
Jus gamer gurl sittin home on sunny day – w4m (Vancouver)
Been tired of all the rain. sun is good, but this gurl is gammin today. u wanna chat hmu. we can chat as long as im not lvling!
The truth is there are now a LOT of self proclaimed ‘gamers’, most of them are adult, introverted, and nerdy – just like my son. Just like his father.
My son started up a conversation with the writer of the post by asking what game she was playing. Her response was ‘alien isolation’. Now I had no idea what that was but, looking into it, this is a video game version of the movie Aliens. My son watched aliens when he was 14. I had to stop the movie half way through. Alien isolation is a rated M for mature, 17+ game. One review proclaims
” ‘Alien: Isolation’ is the most terrifying game I’ve ever played”
In the beginning of the conversation Jace identifies himself as a ’20 year old white guy’. The reply, at 3:53pm, says ‘ I’m 13 and this alien is fukn tearin me up’. In disbelief Jace replies “Why did you post an ad on craigslist if you are 13? You mean 23?” She does not answer Jace but says she ‘likes college guys’.
To be sure he is NOT talking to a 13 year old Jace requests a picture and sends one of himself sitting at his desk with his headset on. In response he receives the following picture:
When later asked about the picture, my son states she looks in her early 20’s, a college girl. In truth she is 24 in this picture. Those of you who think she looks younger are probably older yourselves, not looking through the eyes of a 20 year old boy.
My son is impressed by what he hears, this woman is clearly an achieved gamer, something dear to his heart, and during their conversation he repeatedly states that he’s interested in getting to know her as he feels this could be a good match.
They chat for another hour before Jace asks if she lives alone – clearly never having believed her claim of 13 years of age. The conversation turns sexual and then, a full hour and fifty minutes into the conversation she again claims to be 13.
At this point, having corresponded back and forth every few minutes for just shy of 2 hours, having seen her picture, hearing she is playing a ridiculously scary adult game, while placing an ad on an adult website, JACE KNOWS HE IS TALKING TO AN ADULT. And he is absolutely correct, he is conversing with an adult. What he doesn’t guess is that she is really a ‘HE’! Jace, with no doubt as to the adult status of his intended, banters some more age role play comments and they arrange to meet.
When he gets to her house she tells him to come around back to the basement door. He asks her to come out to meet him so he is sure its the right house, and to see that this is the woman who’s picture he received. The adult woman from the photo walks onto the back patio and calls him in.
Just after entering the house Jace is arrested for attempted rape of a child and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
So the question isn’t was Jace stupid. Clearly he was. The question is was this sting legal? And is what Jace did criminal?