It’s a plot line made famous by the controversial television series To Catch A Predator. A grown man chats with who he believes to be a young tween or teenage girl online. They flirt. They maybe share some explicit pictures. Then when the unsuspecting guy goes to meet up with his paramour, he’s welcomed by a SWAT team and a pair of handcuffs. And there’s nothing kinky about it.
Such arrests have been called “entrapment.” They’ve been accused of punishing people for crimes they never actually committed. They’ve inspired backlashes and lawsuits and long investigative pieces in the New Yorker. But I have to admit, I’m still a little happy and a little relieved every time I hear that such a sting has led to the arrest of a potential predator.
The latest threat to the safety of our young women to be locked up is Pierre-Ludovic Duclos, a Canadian professional tennis player living in Florida. The 27-year-old believed he was chatting with a 13-year-old girl online. He sent her explicit photographs. He agreed to pick her up, take her back to his place, and engage in sexual acts. He has reportedly made a full confession of crimes and his intentions.
Is there a chance that this man wouldn’t have gone through with anything inappropriate? Of course. He could have decided last minute not to commit statutory rape. Does that make me feel guilty about the idea of him spending time in jail? Absolutely not.
I have a young daughter. I want every man who even considers for a second the act of having sex with a middle-schooler to be behind bars, where he can’t hurt my child. I think agreeing to meet an underage girl with the stated intention of having sex is the same as plotting a murder or planting a bomb. Even if the thing doesn’t blow up, we should be able to arrest you. You are threat to society.
This young man’s professional athlete status will make his case more high profile. We might talk a little bit more about this specific man and what exactly he was planning. But when it comes down to it, I want every man plotting to meet underage girls for inappropriate acts to be thrown behind bars. And I won’t feel a bit of guilt about it.