Mathew Falder is a 28 year old geophysicist at Cambridge University. He has entered a guilty plea on 137 counts of sexual crimes as well as fraud or blackmail against both adults and children. He is accused of locating victims on line, and using a variety of aliases. He induced his victims to send him nude or partially clothed images of themselves. Once he obtained the images, he blackmailed his victims into participating in more sexual acts or he would release the images. Falder’s aliases included 666devil and evil mind.
The internet is a tool. It gives us the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. It allows us to connect with people on the opposite side of the planet in real-time. We can operate a business, buy and sell, watch video, listen to music, and read the greatest classics in history. Like any tool, it can be misused. A well-known adage is a hammer can build and create, or kill and destroy. There are some very twisted individuals who choose to use the internet to destroy lives for their own pleasure.
Sex offenders encompass several categories. There are those who target adult men or women, hebephiles, who target early teenagers and pedophiles who target pre-pubescent children. Sex offenders can also be categorized by their preferred or predominant acts. Voyeurism and exhibitionism are terms which are commonly known. Voyeurs watch others having sex or undressing without their knowledge or consent. Exhibitionists display their bodies to non-consenting persons. These acts do not involve direct contact with a victim, so they are offenses that can be perpetrated on-line. Images can be solicited from or sent to victims.
Sexual predators may attempt to court their on line or in person victims. They exude sympathy, empathy, friendliness and kindness. They use charm to gradually entice their victims, looking for common ground, any openings or way into their victim’s lives. In their minds, they are not sexual offending they are dating, and their victim is a willing participant.
Other sex offenders are much more aggressive and direct. They use shock and force, and overpower or intimidate their victims into submission. These two M.O.s, (Modus Operandi) or method which the offender sues to commit the crime may be blended. The offender may initially appear harmless and charming to gain their victims trust, make progressively intrusive requests which turn into unreasonable demands, then reveal their true nature by acting violently. This blended typology appears to be consistent with Falder’s MO.
The internet is a place where there is so much to explore. But people need to be mindful of the dangers that exist.