Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A Waste of Human Potential

People can be convinced to do just about anything, given the right conditions. You don't have to be stupid to allow yourself to fall into a trap. In fact, it often takes someone of high intelligence to be convinced to do some really bizarre things (think cultists who commit suicide together). Check out this Associated Press story by Jeff Karoub about Steven Demink, a very evil man who convinced some mothers to do some evil things. Please don’t think I’m excusing the mothers.

In real life, Steven Demink didn't have children, a college degree or a lasting career. Online, prosecutors say, he presented himself as Dalton St. Clair, an attractive single father and psychologist — a fantasy image authorities say the Michigan man used to persuade mothers across the country to commit unspeakable acts on their children.

Demink, 41, of Redford Township [Michigan, I’m thinking], preyed on single mothers for more than a year, prosecutors say, convincing them to sexually assault their children as a form of therapy. After pleading guilty Monday to six charges related to the sexual exploitation of children, Demink faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in June.
How was he able to do this?

Demink's alter-ego was a single father of a 14-year-old girl, prosecutors said, and he posted pictures of male models as his headshots.
It's a good thing he really didn’t actually have children.

In some cases, court documents say, Demink promised the women a date if they followed through with his directions.
Playing on desperation for a walking ATM can get you far.

Since authorities arrested him in October, seven children were rescued and at least three mothers have been arrested. Prosecutors say all of the children are now safe.
Isn't that a little like saying that an arson burn victim is now safe because she is no longer on fire?

Authorities say Demink chatted with mothers from New Hampshire, Florida, Idaho and elsewhere, persuading them to engage in sexual acts with their children and send images via e-mail or through a live web stream. The children ranged in age from 3 to 15.
Of course Florida had to be part of this. So many strange stories involve that state.

Demink told U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen that before his arrest, he worked as a car salesman for about six months and before that for about five years at a local bank.
As if people didn't hate bankers and car salesmen enough already.

He said he completed a U.S. Customs and Border Protection training program in 2002 and worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service for about a year.
That explains a lot.

As part of his plea agreement with prosecutors, seven charges against Demink were dropped.
I'm assuming the plea agreement was meant to spare victims a trial?

In one case, Demink started online chats with an Oregon woman about the sexual development of her 8-year-old autistic son, according to the plea agreement. He told her to engage in sexually explicit conduct with her son as a way to teach him about sex, prosecutors say, and she did so while Demink watched on a web camera.
You wonder how someone could fall for this, but people fall for all sorts of foolishness. I'm sure if we could be taken through how this happened step by step, we'd have a better understanding of how the mother could have suspended her judgment enough to do this. A lot of it could be the power we give to psychologists.

A Teton County Sheriff's Office report from December 2009 said the Idaho woman met "Daltonst28" on an online dating site called singleparentmeet.com. She told police she performed sex acts on her young son as directed by her online male friend.

The woman's mother, Eileen Schwab of Idaho, said she knows little of how Demink convinced her daughter to follow his orders. She said her daughter was "depressed and lonesome" after her divorce.
Good for Schwab. She decided to protect her grandchildren and the children of others over her protecting her own daughter from legal consequences.

Demink's attorney, Timothy Dinan, said his client "has expressed a lot of remorse" for what he did and has taken responsibility by pleading guilty.
He's probably just sorry he got caught. What a waste of human potential.

I'm glad law enforcement isn't letting the mothers off of the hook. I do wonder if the charges would have been the same and if the news article would have been the same if the sexes were switched - if this had been about some women convincing single fathers to molest their daughters.

Learn how to think clearly, critically, and discern. Don't blindly accept whatever "experts" tell you. Ask them to explain how they came to their conclusions. Some very intelligent and educated people have believed some very wrong things. Look for contradictions. And if something doesn't pass the smell test, think very hard more than once about it.

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