A teenager who posts her cutest picture on Facebook may unwittingly invite a couple of sexual predator "friends" into her social network if she isn't careful. However, no matter how cautious she is, she can't avoid having all her data and the data of her friends and the data of their friends swept up and stored into an NSA computer from hell.
But this is just Metadata, right? They're just looking at the "big picture". A forty-year-old pervert's data is going to stick out like a sore thumb among all the teenagers' data. The NSA/FBI protectors (not predators) can then go to work tracking said predator. In the process they will gather additional evidence by hacking into his computer and tracking him as he trolls the underworld of internet child porn. Perhaps they discover a whole network of pervert friends and eventually take them all down. Just think of the NSA as a Big Brother who looks something like Clint Eastwood who is valiantly trying to protect innocent citizens from the bad guys who keep whining about their Constitutional Rights.
Come to think of it, considering the capabilities they had after 9/11, they would have caught Mr. Pervert if he had been doing anything the least little bit perverted. The target on his back was faithfully painted and repainted as the years passed by. I saw his picture in the newspaper three times. The first was the day he got arrested in the early eighties. Many teachers were upset about the way the press had treated him that day. The DOE and/or the NYPD had notified reporters as to when he would be arrested and they took full advantage of the opportunity to photograph him as he was led away.
The second time I saw his picture was in the New York Post right around 9/11--either just before or just after, I can't remember which. He was on the front page and a huge headline branded him as the Teflon Teacher (charges against him couldn't be made to stick). This time he hadn't been arrested. That means that whatever he did was not a crime or there wasn't enough evidence to tie him to a crime. As far as I know, he spent the next eight or nine years in some form of Rubber Room until I saw him shortly after my arrival.
The third time I saw his picture was in February of 2010. I can pinpoint the time because I wrote about it on this blog in a post called "Yellow Journalism" . Six Rubber Room teachers were targeted and he was one of them. It was revealed that The Pervert had impregnated a former student in the mid '70's. They actually called his daughter who lived in another state and tried to interview her over the phone. Now, remember: this is FORTY YEARS later. They could not have published the story based on gossip and hearsay without fear of a lawsuit. It would have been necessary to find DOE records to confirm that the girl was a former student of the Pervert; medical records to confirm the age of the girl when impregnated and the outcome of the pregnancy; civil records to identify the name and birthdate of the baby. That was a lot of work for a forty-year-old story, and that means to me that they had nothing else on him.
So should I stop calling him the Pervert? Maybe. I have a gut feeling that he got a little too close to a couple of little girls, but a gut feeling isn't evidence and evidence is all that counts when condemning a man to public shame. For me there are a lot of perverts in my story. The children who lied. The principals and investigators who encouraged the children to lie. Teachers who protected a friend rather than a child. The so-called journalists who wrote stories based on nothing but gossip without taking the trouble to check the facts. The mayor who dismantled a school system so that he and his rich friends could get richer. Wall street bankers who threw the whole world into financial chaos. Presidents who signed unconstitutional bills into law. They are all perverts.