Who wouldn’t want to visit Flagler Beach? This small, idyllic spit of land on Florida’s east coast attracts thousands of visitors every year. But some of the visitors you’ll meet aren’t just coming for the sun, sand, and surf.
Flagler Beach it seems, is a town ready to take on potential sex predators.
Officer Kevin Pineda explains the kind of complaints his department has been hearing.
Officer Kevin Pineda: Older gentleman going to our beach—that much isn’t a crime, they’re just staring at people. But when they start making advances towards the young generation in our city, it causes concern.
Having seen Dateline’s investigations, Pineda decided to conduct his own experiment. He set up his own decoy profile online in local chat rooms, posing as a 14-year-old girl named “Jenna,” screen name “flaglerbeauty14f.”
Officer Pineda: Within about 5 to 10 minutes the screen was just cluttered with instant messages, you know, emails. It was just unbelievable.
Over just two days, Pineda received messages from more than a hundred people, mostly older men and their intent was unmistakable. One guy sent an image of his penis, and his wife performing oral sex on him.
Having witnessed the problem firsthand, Pineda asked the police chief if he could invite Perverted-Justice to Flagler Beach.
Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent: And how did he respond?Officer Pineda: He was a little wary at first. He told me to do my research on it, contact other departments that actually used Perverted Justice. Hansen: And what did you find?Officer Pineda: Absolutely nothing but, just overwhelming joy from other departments that have actually utilized their services.
So Chief Roger Free gave his consent.
Hansen: Did you have any fears going in?Chief Free: Yeah. If something went wrong, of course it would be all over the place.Hansen: Any regrets?Chief Free: None whatsoever.
Last December, Dateline and Perverted-Justice set up an investigation in a beach-front house. It got crowde, some men even came two at a time.
Meet 25-year-old psychology student named Safraz Khan: Weeks before he arrived at our house, Khan who uses the screen name "tennisboy213," took 13 years off his age, and began speaking to a Perverted-Justice decoy who told him she’s a 13-year-old female.
Dateline pays Perverted-Justice to do what it normally does: set up profiles in chat rooms that appear to be from underage teens—in this case ages 13 to 15 —who are curious about sex.
In his chat, Khan asks the girl if she’s a virgin, and if she likes older guys. Then, Khan the student becomes the teacher, advising her on such matters as erections, masturbation, oral sex, sexual positions, and how sex for her may hurt at first because she’s a virgin.
But he clearly knows what he’s doing is illegal:
tennisboy213 (chat log): i’m kinda afraid to come see u… because i could go to jail if i touched u ur a minor
But later, he sends along a picture of his genitals, and says he’ll bring lots of condoms.
He makes a date online to come to the girl’s house when she says she will be alone.
Female decoy: You can come in. Hi.Female decoy: How you doing?
Khan is walking into a house loaded with hidden cameras, a Dateline crew, and members of Perverted-Justice. He appears to suspect there’s more here than meets the eye.
Female Decoy: You can come in and sit down if you want.Safraz Khan: No, that’s all right. You aren’t the one I talked to on the phone.Decoy: On the phone?Khan: Yeah.
Because he’s wary, I decide to make an early appearance.
Hansen: I need to talk to you for a minute. Why don’t you have a seat right there. What’s going on?Khan: I’m sorry.Hansen: You’re sorry for what?Khan: That I did this.
Hansen: And what did you do exactly?Khan: I came to meet someone that was underage.Hansen: That was underage. And why did you do that?Khan: I don’t know.Hansen: It sure seemed like you knew what you wanted during this chat.
And we’re out of time, because our next visitor is here. The result is a “To Catch a Predator” first— simultaneous interviews. Our decoy invites him inside.
Hansen: Why don’t you come in over here and stand right over here at the bar. How are you?Yaz Asfour: I’m good. How are you?Hansen: Good, good. Please, come here. I want you guys to meet each other. This is TennisBoy213. And Tennis Boy, this is SlaveToMistresses, right?Asfour: Yeah.Hansen: What are you doing here?
Actually it’s pretty clear to us what he’s doing here and who he is— it’s all in his online chat.
26-year-old Yazan Asfour uses the screen name slave2mistresses. That gives you an idea what’s on his mind. He’s a former member of a Jordanian basketball team, and now a student and personal trainer.
slave2mistresses: hijen_is_jennah: heyslave2mistresses: a/s/l pleasejen_is_jennah: 13 f fljen_is_jennah u?slave2mistresses: o reallyslave2mistresses: i am 24 m slave tampa
Like the previous man, Asfour chatted with a decoy who told him she was 13. But unlike Khan, Asfour mostly wanted the girl to do things to him. We can’t get too detailed, but we can say he prefers to be treated like a dog and also a toilet. (We’ll have to leave it at that.)
He sends naked pictures of himself like these in which he’s wearing a dog collar, along with a link to a Website that illustrates what he’s talking about.
So what’s he have to say now that he’s alongside another potential predator—just like two guys at the bar?
Hansen: What are you doing here tonight?Asfour: Nothing.Hansen: Nothing?Asfour: Yeah.Hansen: Well, it sure seems like you had a lot of plans in this chat.Khan: Can I ask a question?Hansen: Sure.Khan: Is my family gonna have to know about this?Hansen: Why are you so concerned about your family knowing?Khan: ‘Cause this—this is something that would just ruin my life.Hansen: Well, you made the decision to come in here. I’m gonna get back with you in a minute ‘cause I have a couple questions for you (talking to other man). What were you planning on doing here tonight? Did you bring your collar with you? No. What is all this slave talk in here?Asfour: Is 13? Hansen: Huh? 13, yes. Asfour: I don’t want to have sex.Hansen: Well, that’s not what you say here. That you in those pictures? Got a collar on there. You sent this, right? You sent this?Asfour: I can’t remember.Hansen: You can’t remember. That’s you, though, right?Asfour: Yeah.Hansen: So there’s only one way that these pictures could have gotten here… and that’s by you sending them.Hansen: And for you, you sent pictures, too, didn’t you? And what did that picture show?Khan: I was naked.Hansen: And you thought that was okay to send a naked picture of yourself to a 13-year-old girl?Khan: No, it’s not okay. Hansen: But why did you do it?Khan: It’s a weakness of mine.
Khan tells me he brought condoms, and knows what’s going on.
Khan: I’ve seen this program before.Hansen: You’ve seen this program?Khan: Yeah.Hansen: All right. Well, you know what you’ve walked into here. You’re still trying to figure this out. So I’m gonna tell you both what’s going on here. I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC.Khan: Okay.Hansen: And we’re doing a story on adults who try to meet underage teens online for sex.
Asfour still appears confused, but khan clearly knows what’s coming.
Asfour: Yeah, but I—Khan: We both gonna get arrested I think.Asfour: What?Khan: Yeah. I’m very sorry about this. I just wanna make things right. I feel really bad about this.Hansen: Okay. Well, I appreciate that.
Khan leaves. Asfour follows shortly after. Outside, the Flagler Beach police are waiting.
Back at the police station, the two men are questioned by investigators at the same time.
Asfour is worried about his reputation, and still says he didn’t do anything wrong.
Yazan Asfour (to police): ...the situation will hurt me if it’s on the TV. I’m not do any criminal in my life. I told you I don’t do any sex... any sex with a woman.Police: What if you had got it over here and she had wanted to have had sex with you?Asfour: I would not accept. Because many girls try to have sex with me. I did not— I swear I am a virgin. I swear to God. My goal was to know her because she was nice with me.Police: Yes. Your goal was to have her do the things that you type in there at some point.Asfour: Maybe. Yeah maybe that’s true after I know her but not in the first meeting.
Down the hall, it’s a different story with the psychology major Safraz Khan.
Khan: I just made a terrible mistake that could possibly affect me for the rest of my life. Would that be a fair assumption?Detective Liz Williams: That would be a very fair assumption, actually.
Kahn tells Detective Liz Williams of the Flagler Beach Police that he’s been having sexual chats with underage girls since he was 20.
Det. Williams: How many of those girls did you send pictures to?Khan: Probably all of them.Det. Williams: All of them? Khan: I struggle with this internally. I’ve always known it’s wrong. And I never realized just how big of a problem it is.
Later, both men were charged with three felonies, including attempting to commit a lewd act on a child, and using a computer to send harmful material to a minor. If convicted, Khan could face up to five years in prison.
Asfour, because he’s been charged with a 2nd degree felony for sending those graphic online pictures, could face up to 15 years. And, because both men are not U.S. citizens, if convicted, they could be deported after serving their sentences.
More and more of the men we meet are aware of the Dateline "To Catch a Predator" investigations. Last September, in Long Beach California, we found an warning on a Web site that Dateline was in town. So it’s not surprising that some of the men who came to our house in Long Beach quickly realized what they’d walked into.
That pattern has continued during this most recent investigation in Flagler Beach, Florida. One man suspects a set up, and won’t come in the house. At first, this man won’t even get out of his car and wants to take our male decoy for a ride.
Both of these men were arrested and charged with felonies, and both later pleaded not guilty.
So because more and more men seemed wary, we came up with an alternate location.
Instead of at the house, the decoy would now suggest meeting right across the street, at the beach, where we set up five remote-controlled hidden cameras covering the beach and the boardwalk. I would meet the men on the walkway after they approached the decoy.
Daniel Kelly, a 45-year-old businessman who drove three hours from Clearwater on Florida’s West Coast:
Female decoy: Yeah. Hi.David Peter Kelly: Hi.Decoy: How are you?Kelly: You are in the middle of nowhere, right?Decoy: It’s freezing…
Online, Kelly used the screen name “jpeterdk2000” to chat with a decoy named Amber who said she was 13.
Early in the chat, Kelly complements the girl, and makes small talk.
But later in the chat Kelly asks:
jpeterdk2000: have u gone “all the way” with anyone?judkin_amazin93: :( nojpeterdk2000: when u do, it will be special, for sure
And when she says she’s going to log off and take a shower?
jpeterdk2000: i know, u need someone there to wash your back for you, right… washing the back would lead to washing the back of your legs, to the front of your legs, to the front of your stomach and… who knows where it would lead!jpeterdk2000: well, getting to kiss a woman all over, definitely makes me hotjpeterdk2000: the more she gets hot, the hotter I getjpeterdk2000: So, you’d like to “make out” with me?judkin_amazin93: yah
Then he talks about “making out” with the girl, and about the nicknames he gives his penis. He clearly seems to knows it’s illegal to have sex with her.
jpeterdk2000: u realize that we could get into a lot of trouble if we did?jpeterdk2000: at least I could
But Kelly keeps talking, and eventually writes:
jpeterdk2000: I want u sooooooooooooo bad!jpeterdk2000: Like I want you to cum sooooooooooo hard!judkin_amazin93: me tojpeterdk2000: over and over againjpeterdk2000: I am sure I could make you cum without going all the way.
He agrees to meet at the beach, and now Kelly, nicknamed “DJ” is talking to our decoy down on the boardwalk.
Under the boardwalk, Flager Beach Police Officer Kevin Pineda and his partner are stationed in a bunker, ready for anything.
Hansen: You do lose a measure of control—Office Kevin Pineda: That is right.Hansen: --when you take this thing outside of the house.Officer Pineda: That is right.Hansen: Did that worry you?Officer Pineda: It did. But we had officers posted all around the highway.
Soon, Pineda and the Flagler Beach Police would be put to the test.
Decoy: How was the drive over here?David Peter Kelly: Good.Decoy: Good.Kelly: You can just stay up there. I’m coming up. Let me just get my stuff together.Hansen (talks to Kelly): Hey DJ? Would you come up here for a minute.Kelly: What’s that?Hansen: Could you come up here for a minute? How you doing?Kelly: Alright.Hansen: Good. I just want to talk to you for a minute. Hey DJ—Kelly: Yeah?Hansen: —there’s something I gotta tell you though. I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC. And we’re doing a story on adults who try to meet teens online. What’s that?
Kelly makes a run for it with the police in hot pursuit. But he doesn’t get far.
Kelly finally stops struggling and is brought back to the police station, read his rights, and questioned by an investigator.
Officer Randy Web: My first question to you, sir is why are you here?Daniel Kelly: I was gonna have dinner and maybe go to a movie with a young lady.
Kelly, who says his wife is away on a business trip, denies he was coming for sex, even when the investigator points out that police found condoms in his jacket pocket.
Officer Web: They found three condoms in your pocket.Kelly: Yeah. I always carry condoms with me.Officer Web: Do you always carry three condoms in your pocket?Kelly: Well, actually, they’ve been there for quite awhile and I didn’t—Officer Web: I mean, I’m sin—Kelly: —I didn’t know I had three.Officer Web: I’m single. I’m not married. And I don’t carry condoms around. (laughs)Kelly: Okay.
Later, Kelly pleaded not guilty to two felony counts.
Meawhile, there are still some visitors are willing to meet at the undercover house.
Here’s 28-year-old Michael Reyes, a construction worker who drove two hours to get here.
Female decoy: You can come in. Hi. How you doing? Good.
Online, Reyes, who has a 2-year-old daughter used the screen name “daddyreyes062000” to chat with a decoy named Kelly, who told him she was fourteen.
At first Reyes writes:
daddyreyes062000 (chat log): We might have to meet but I will not do anything appropriate with youdaddyreyes062000: I do not wanna go to jail
But after Kelly says she’s a virgin, Reyes writes:
daddyreyes062000: u would have sex with me?fl_butterflies92: ya if u wantd 2
Perverted-Justice decoys often deliberately pretend to be precocious young teens willing to have sex. But remember, under the law, a young teen cannot give consent.
Reyes sends a picture of his genitals, and asks if he should bring condoms when he comes over.
Hansen (walks out): Before you do that, why don’t you just have a seat right over there, please.
Michael Reyes: I’m—Hansen: Right on this stool. What’s happening?Reyes: Just coming to visit with her.Hansen: Visit who?Reyes: Kelly.
At first, like many of the men we’ve met, Reyes tells me he didn’t know how old the girl said she was.
Hansen: Okay, let me give you a little hint, okay? We have the chat log.Reyes: Okay.Hansen: So you can go ahead and start telling the truth now, okay?Reyes: First time was 14. And then I was under the assumption maybe it was 18. I didn’t know—Hansen: She didn’t say anything about 18.Reyes: Okay.Hansen: Or 19.Reyes: About 14-- about—Hansen: She said 14.Reyes: Okay. 14.Hansen: But you talked about having sex with this 14-year-old girl.Reyes: I asked her if she was a virgin. I asked her—about her having sex with older guys. She kept saying, “Cool, cool, cool.” And this and that. And—Hansen: But because a 14-year-old girl says it’s okay doesn’t make it okay.Reyes: I understand that. I’m not coming—I’m not here to—to come here have sex with her.Hansen: But that’s not what it indicates in your chat, Michael.
Then Reyes tells me he’s read up on the problem of men soliciting underage kids out of concern for his own child.
Reyes: And it gets to me ‘cause I have a daughter.Hansen: You have a daughter. How old is your daughter?Reyes: Two years old. And—Hansen: Two years old.Reyes: --it gets to me. And I don’t wanna see something like this happen.Hansen: You’ve ever watched any television shows about—Reyes: Yes.Hansen: --Internet safety?Reyes: Dr. Phil, Oprah, all of them, I’ve watched them.Hansen: Have you ever watched Dateline NBC?Reyes: Yes, a bunch of times.Hansen: The “To Catch a Predator” shows?Reyes: I hate—I don’t even—I’m not like that. Hansen: Well, you know, you’re now in one of the Dateline shows. I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC and we’re doing a story on adults who try to meet underage kids online.Reyes: I just made a mistake and I’m sorry. I was trying to see something for a plan, and it came back and bit me in the butt.
Outside, Flagler Beach police are waiting. At the police station, Reyes agrees to speak with an investigator.
At first, Reyes sticks to his story, and says he wasn’t going to have sex when he came to the house. But later he admits...
Reyes: If it would have happened it—if it would have happened, no—yes. I would have done—Officer: You would have been agreeable to it if it would have happened.Reyes: Yes. Yes.
As police look into Reyes’ record, they find out that his ex-wife and mother of his child has a restraining order against him. Reyes is charged with three felonies, including transmitting harmful material to a minor, and a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended license. He later pleaded not guilty.
Meet 53-year-old James Wiles, a retired truck driver from Jacksonville.
Female decoy: Come in. You can come on in. You can come on in.James Wiles: Hello.
Online, Wiles uses the screen name “hambubger” to chat with a decoy named Claire who told him she was thirteen.
Early on, Wiles tells the girl he’s in love.
Hambubger: hi sweetie I love you dear with all my heart body soul you are the air i breath.
And he quickly hopes the love affair will go to the next level.
Hambubger: maybe if you want we could have sex oo just go to the beach and injoy each others company
He goes on to say he wants to perform oral sex on her, and she replies it’s ok...
Heyshuddup: as long as u r gentleHambubger: baby i will be gentle as a pussycat
He says he wants “Claire” to meet him in her underwear—pink to be exact. “Claire” agrees, and has her own request.
Heyshuddup: is there neway i can get u to bring me some M&M’s?
And here he is inside the undercover house, greeted by a 19-year-old actress hired by Dateline.
Female Decoy: How are you?James Wiles: I’m fine.
Wiles keeps his online promise.
Decoy: Did you bring my M&Ms?
Wiles: Sure.Decoy: Yeah. You can have a seat. Get something to drink. Did you bring the condoms? No?Wiles: Nah.Decoy: Thank you.Wiles: You’re welcome.Decoy: Great. Well, I’m gonna go change. I’ll be right back.Wiles: Okay.
We’ve blurred his graphic body language which seem to indicate exactly what’s on his mind.
Hansen (walks out): You seemed a little nervous driving around out there.Wiles: Yeah.Hansen: What are you doing here tonight, James?Wiles: I’m coming to see her.Hansen: And how old is the girl you came to see here today?Wiles: She says she’s 13.Hansen: 13?Wiles: Right. Wiles: I did not wanna have sex with a thir—Hansen: Well, that’s not what it says here.Wiles: I know what it says there.Hansen (reading chat): “We will be making love all the time I’m there.” “Okay, cool.”Wiles: I said that—Hansen: “With my tongue up your blank.”Wiles: I said. I say that—Hansen: What does that mean?Wiles: I know what it’s—means. But I say that on all the—all—Hansen: You say that all the time.Wiles: Right.Hansen: James, do you ever watch television?Wiles: Very little I watch TV.Hansen: Oh. I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC, and we’re doing a story on adults who try to meet children online for sex.Wiles: Sir, please. I’m not in for sex. I’m just in it for friendship. That’s all.
And to prove it, Wiles gives an excuse we haven’t heard before: he says he isn’t able to have intercourse.
Wiles: bleep h***-onHansen: All right. Well, you’re free to go.Wiles: I know when you gonna have me arrested when I walk out the door.
Actually, it’s the Flagler Beach police who are gonna do the arresting. Wiles is brought to the police station and agrees to speak to investigators.
Detective Liz Williams: When you were talking to on online and about masturbating at the time, was that real or pretend?Wiles: Just pretend, ma’am.Det. Williams: And so, when you were coming here today to—to see Claire, what were you guys gonna do?Wiles: Just be friends.Williams: Just sit and look at each other? Were you gonna—Wiles: Just sit and talk, watch TV or whatever. Play games.
Wiles is charged with two felony counts including attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child. He later pleaded not guilty.
And back at the house, the parade continues.
31-year-old David Demers teaches video technology at a trade college in Orlando. Using the screen name audavideo, he chats on line with a decoy named Anni who tells him she’s 14.
And right from the start, Demers seems to know he’s asking for trouble.
Audavideo (chat log): Well, having any type of romantic relationship with someone younger than 18 is walking on thin ice.
The decoy tells him she had sex with her ex- boyfriend but didn’t like it very much.
Then, like many of the men we meet, Demers becomes a sex education teacher, explaining the benefits of sex in a swimming pool.
Audavideo: And the sensation for you is like having sex on a cloud.
And when the girl asks about group sex, he describes it in graphic detail.
audavideo: simply put one guy has is d*** in her mouth
anni_anni_bobanni: o geezaudavideo: the other guy has his d*** in her p*** or her b***anni_anni_bobanni: o dANGaudavideo: I love teaching you . its so fun
He sends her a pictures of his penis and wants to know how he compares to her old boyfriend. But just to cover his tracks, he suggests this.
Audavideo: dont leave our conversations open when you leave the computeranni_anni_bobanni: oh thats a good ideaaudavideo: just usin my noodleaudavideo: I’ll use this noodle so that you can use my other noodle
Now Demers is in the undercover house, and wants to give our decoy a hug.
Female decoy (hidden camera footage): That’s not me. (laughs)David Demers: How’s it going?Decoy: Good. You can sit down.Demers: Oh.Hansen (walks out): No hugs tonight.Demers: Okay.Hansen: Why don’t you have a seat right over there. What are you up to?Demers: I don’t know. I’m in a bad spot.Hansen: You’re in a bad spot.Demers: I’m lonely.Hansen: Why don’t you describe that spot for me?Demers: Alone.Demers: I’m not gonna deny it. I mean, obviously I’m here and whatever. So—Hansen: I mean, is that appropriate to send to a girl who says she’s 14?Demers: No, no, not at all.Hansen: Lounging around naked?Demers: I knew it was wrong. I knew it was wrong, and I just kept—I just couldn’t—I couldn’t stop. I don’t know why.Hansen: What was your plan here tonight? Do you think you would have had sex with this girl if she was willing?Demers: If it would have come to it.Hansen: Did you bring condoms?Demers: Uh-huh (AFFIRM).Hansen: You did? What else did you bring?Demers: Massage oil.Hansen: You know what’s going on here?Demers: Yes, I do.Hansen: You know who I am?Demers: I don’t know who you are. I have an idea.Hansen: Who do you think?Demers: I believe you’re some sort of detective or police officer.Hansen: Well, I’m not.Demers: No?Hansen: You’d be wrong there. I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC. And we’re doing a story on adults who try to meet young teens online for sex.Demers: I will deny nothing. It’s all there, black and white. This is probably what I needed to straighten up. It scared the hell out of me. It should have scared the hell out of me as soon as she said she was 14. I should have just been like, “Bye.” And that’s what I’m gonna do from now on.Hansen: Okay.Demers: (sighs) Gentlemen, have a good night.Hansen: Thank you.Demers: Thank you.
But for Demers, it may not be such a good night. He later pleaded not guilty to three felony counts, including using a computer to expose himself to a minor.
Meet 39-year-old Oanh Le, who works in a printing shop. He politely leaves his shoes at the door. Once inside, he clearly likes our interior design.
Oanh Le: Wow. Did you decorate this?Female Decoy: (laughs) No.Le: No?Decoy: I didn’t do it.Le: No? It’s cool.Decoy: Yeah.Le: Just like restaurant.
Le, who is from Orlando, used the screen name "orl00fun" to chat with a decoy who told him she was thirteen.
Despite the language barrier, he makes it clear what’s on his mind.
orl00fun (Chat log): i would touching you all over your body...would you let me?
He sends her a picture of his genitals, and later, referring to sex, he writes:
orl00fun: you can ride me,,,,i just waer the condum
And now that he’s in the undercover house, the decoy want to know if he brought those condoms.
Decoy: (laughs) So did you bring anything?Le: No, I didn’t.Decoy: You didn’t?Le: I didn’t stop by any place. Can we go get it?Decoy: No, it’s okay.Le: Yeah?Decoy: What do you wanna do?Le: I don’t know. Hi.Chris Hansen (walks out): Hi. How are you?Le: How are you?Hansen: What’s happening?Le: Hey. How are you?Hansen: Good. Whatcha doing here tonight?Le: invite me over, say hi.Hansen: She invited you over to say hi.Hansen: Did you bring condoms with you?Le: No, sir.Hansen: But just a moment ago you offered to go get some.Le: Yes.Hansen: So what does that say about your intent?Le: Maybe if she want.Hansen: Maybe if she wanted to, the two of you would have had sex.Le: Maybe.Hansen: Maybe.Le: Yes.Hansen: You know that’s against the law, right?Le: Yes, it is. I know.Even now, Le remains polite.Hansen: Well, I’m Chris Hansen.Le: Yes, I’m Oanh.Hansen: Oanh, I'm Chris Hansen and I’m with Dateline NBC. And we’re doing a story on adults who try to meet kids online for sex. Le: I really apologize.Hansen: I understand. Okay then.
Le remembers his shoes, and meets the Flagler Beach Police outside. They take him back to the station where he tells the investigators he sent pictures of his genitals and came to the house, because he’s missing something in his marriage.
Le: Since I’m married, I just don’t have sex. I’m sorry to say that. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t party. I—I just go to work.
Le is charged with three felonies, including transmitting harmful materials to a minor. He later pleaded not guilty.
In the meantime, we’re expecting another visitor, not here at the house, but at the nearby beach.
He’s 32-year-old Lance Fine. Fine works as a waiter at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando.
Online, fine uses the screen name ‘firstandgrand’ to speak to a decoy named Scott who told him he’s a 14-year-old boy.
Early in the chat, Fine asks:
FirstAndGrand (chat log): do you like older guys?DerekM12292: yea i like people that r nice
The decoy reminds Fine that they’ve talked before in a gay men’s chat room.
During this chat, Fine doesn’t waste any time, vividly detailing his sexual fantasies:
FirstAndGrand: I’d soooo love to get beaten up by you and be your toilet
Fine says he’ll bring alcohol, and describes graphically how he wants to teen to have sex with him.
But, he also suspects that “Scott” might not be a real teen.
FirstAndGrand: but this could be a trap and I could go to jailDerekM12292: nawwFirstAndGrand: well, the thought did cross my mindFirstAndGrand: but damn your pretty
Fine gives Scott his cell phone number and asks him to call. The actor we hired makes the call. Fine agrees to meet the teen at the beach.
So, we deploy our 19-year-old male actor on the boardwalk across the street from our undercover house.
Soon, Sine shows up, parks down the beach, and starts walking towards the decoy.
Male Decoy: Are you Lance? Are you Lance? Are you Lance? Hey, I’m Derek. It’s Derek. Are you Lance? Are you Lance? This is Derek. No? Okay.
But Fine clearly suspects something, and begins to head back towards his car.
So, I decide to head him off and try to speak with him.
Hansen: Hey, how are you?Fine: Good.Hansen: Wanna read somethin’? Can I talk to you for a minute? How are you doin’?Fine: Pretty good.Hansen: Good. What’s going on?Fine: Just out ridin’ around.Hansen: Ridin’ around? Hey, is that you right there?Fine: That is me.Hansen: Then so then you would be the one who had this chat online, right?Fine: I don’t know what you’re talking about.Hansen: “Can I lick your” blank? And how old is the boy that you came to see today?Fine: I don’t know what you’re talking about.Hansen:14, male.Fine: It musta been somebody on my-- (TAPE GLITCH)Hansen: was on your computer who made plans to meet right down here, and magically you showed up?Fine: I’m not gonna say anything.Hansen: Okay. “I want to lay back on my back. I want to lay on my back with a pillow and let you sit on my chest with your knees over my forearms and punch me repeatedly.”Fine: That’s funny.Hansen: That’s funny, huh? What’s your screen name, Lance?Fine: I have a few—Hansen: You have a few. Is one of them 'FirstandGrand'?Fine: Yes. Yes. That’s the main one. I don’t know what you want me to say here.Hansen: I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC. And we’re doing a story on adults who try to meet kids online for sex.Fine: (laughs) I’ve never done anything like that.Hansen: You’ve never done anything? You didn’t do this here today?Fine: No.Hansen: You didn’t have this chat?Fine: No, sir.
Then, the potential predator’s phone begins to buzz. It was the decoy calling to verify that it was the same person he spoke with earlier.
Hansen: Did you wanna answer your phone?Fine: Oh, was it ringing?Hansen: Yeah.Fine: I’ll just turn it off until we’re done talking.Hansen: Well you know who just called you?Fine: It was my mother for all I know.Hansen: No, I can tell you exactly who it was. It was my crew called you, because they had the cell phone number that you gave the boy in the chat.Fine: What’s the police officer doing here?
That is a good question. After he’s read his rights, Fine decides not to speak without a lawyer present.
Police find a bottle of Crown Royal and marijuana in his car.
He’s charged with three felonies including possession of a controlled substance, and attempting a lewd act upon a minor. Fine later pleaded not guilty.
The Hard Rock Cafe told us fine no longer works there.
We’re about to wrap up our investigation for the day.
At the Flagler Beach Police Station, the latest suspect is being questioned, then taken off to jail for the night.
Back at the undercover house, Perverted-Justice decoys are chatting on line with some men who say they might come for a visit.
Perverted-Justice’s Frag: We picked up a fast mover somewhere in central Florida. We also have a guy who says he’s somewhere between Daytona and St. Augustine that’s talking about coming...
But they don’t call, and aren’t showing up, so we decide to shut down for the night.
Unbeknowst to us however, there is a man heading to our house—all the way from the northern border of Florida. About 350 miles away. We’ll find out in a couple of hours that he’s got more in his car than directions.
He’s 41-year-old Todd Spikes. Using the screen name luvs2eaturpeach, he chatted regularly on line for almost a month with a decoy who told him she’s thirteen.
Spikes’ chat is extremely graphic, difficult to quote on television.
He sends along pictures of himself masturbating.
When the decoy tells spikes she lives with her mother, Spikes says he could become the mother’s boyfriend, come to live at their house, and have sex with both of them.
Spikes also tells the girl he wants to watch her perform oral sex on an another man.
The decoy is curious. Spikes also tells the girl what he’s done for a living. But he tells her he quit being a cop to work in a family business.
Spikes seems well aware that what he’s talking about is illegal.
The decoy writes:
lindsay_was_here1993: u better not tell neone lol
luvs2eaturpeach: i wont sweetie, i cant id go 2 prison & thats like a death sentence. inmates hate cops they try 2 kill em in prison
After all this, we think he’s not coming.
Little do we know that he’s decided to go ahead and make the long drive. When he arrives in the Flagler Beach area, he calls the decoy from a pay phone.
Perverted-Justice alerts officer Kevin Pineda of the Flagler Beach Police.
Pineda meets the other officers back at the darkened undercover house and sees Spikes driving by.
Then, as Spikes seems to drive away, the police stop his car, and place him under arrest.
As it turns out, we may have been lucky he never made it inside the house.
Officer Pineda: After we actually took him out of the vehicle, he advised us that he had a fire arm on him...
That firearm happened to be a snub-nose revolver in his front pocket--- loaded and ready to fire. But there’s something else.
Pineda: He also had a badge, which says he’s an officer in Alabama.
That’s right, Spikes had gone back being a police officer.
He’s brought back to the Flagler Beach police station.
Outside, the officers searching his SUV make another startling discovery—an arsenal of weapons, including a military assault rifle that was leaning on the passenger seat, ready to fire.
Officer: He had the bolt back and the magazines all he had to do was tap ‘em in.
...with two clips of thirty bullets each.
And that’s just the beginning. Flagler Beach Police Chief Roger Free.
Chief Free: you have a 38 Smith & Wesson special there, Glock 40, and a 45 caliber six round... You have a 12 gauge shotgun back there.
That along with about 800 rounds of ammunition— some of it hollow point bullets, dubbed “copkillers,” used to penetrate bullet-proof vests.
Hansen: Is there any legitimate reason for a cop to be driving around with all that firepower? Det. Liz Williams: No. I can’t think of no reason at all, that you would have that much ammunition or the type of ammunition that he had.
spikes also had three cell phones, two bullet-proof vests, video and digital cameras, and pornographic DVDs.
Hansen: Do you think that we dodged a bullet, quite literally?Det. Liz Williams: Absolutely. Absolutely. There was probably an angel sitting on everybody’s shoulder that night.
Chief Free calls the police chief of spikes’ department in Florala, Alabama.
Free learns that Spikes had just gotten his badge.
Chief Free: ....he said the guy just started working back for him. Just finished up his refresher course so he could come back into the law enforcement in Alabama.Detective Williams: Todd, the only thing I ask of you when you’re in here is just not to make any sudden moves, you know, that—Spikes: Right.Det. Williams --right?Spikes: Yeah. I know it all too well.
Other than giving his name and address, Spikes doesn’t want to speak to the detective. And he doesn’t want to speak to Dateline either.
The next evening, sheriff’s deputies in spikes’ home county serve a search warrant on his house. They take his computers, find even more weapons, and large plastic tubs filled with videotapes.
Det. Williams: That appeared to be—homemade videos. What the nature of those videos are, we don’t know yet. They’re being analyzed by the state crime lab.
Later, investigators examine Spikes’ computers, and find nothing relevant except the chat Spikes had with the decoy.
Spikes lawyer told us all those weapons were used by his client in his work as a police officer—and when off duty, Spikes stored them in his car.
However, the police chief at Spikes’ department says he was not authorized to carry all those weapons on duty, and Spikes could have had a place to store the weapons at the station if he’d asked. His chief fired Spikes three days after his arrest.
Spikes is charged with four felony counts--- including two counts of using a computer to transmit harmful material to a minor. Those carry penalties of up to fifteen years in prison.
Spikes later pleaded not guilty.
Four days, 21 arrests in our Flagler beach investigation, all the men pleaded not guilty... and all except James Wiles have been released on bond awaiting their court dates.
Two of our alleged predators have gotten acquainted in jail. We saw Dainel Kelly grabbing a smoke from Todd Spikes. Kelly returns the favor, and gives Spikes a ride.
Chris Hansen: How good is the evidence in all of these cases?
Officer: Images of themselves that they’re sending. Phone calls of these people—types, makes, models of their vehicles… what they’re gonna be wearing. There’s just no doubt that these people are what we have on paper.
Detective Liz Williams thinks using decoys may have prevented real crimes from taking place.
Det. Liz Williams: It gave me a great amount of satisfaction, to make 21 arrests and not have a child in front of me who is devastated and broken. Truly beyond repair. Hansen: What message do you think this investigation sends out, both in your community and across the country?Police Chief Roger Free: We are willing to do anything legally possible to keep our children safe in our community. We may be small, but we will use all of our resources to keep them out of our area and protect our children.
You’ve heard a lot from these men in their own words. Next week, I’ll let you know what I was thinking while all this was happening in my own words. We’ll answer some of your e-mails and blog posts, and we’ll tell you who’s been convicted— and how long they’ll be behind bars.
Sheriff Mike Joley: The most we’ve got so far is six years in prison with 25 years on probation.
Lawmakers in Ohio want to make it easier to identify sex predators. They're considering a law to require all convicted sex offenders to display fluorescent green license plates on their cars. Ohio would be the first state to do so.