February 18, 2005

FBI targets pedophilia advocates


By Onell R. Soto
February 18, 2005

On its Web site and newsletters, the North American Man/Boy Love Association advocates sex between men and boys and cites ancient Greece to justify the practice.

It goes by the acronym NAMBLA, and the FBI has been following it for years, linking it to pedophilia and recently infiltrating it with an agent successful enough to be asked to join the group's steering committee.

Law enforcement officials and mental health professionals say that while NAMBLA's membership numbers are small, the group has a dangerous ripple effect through the Internet by sanctioning the behavior of those who would abuse children.

"A lot of people who commit sexual crimes against children won't believe it is wrong," said Gregg Michel, a San Diego psychologist who interviews sex offenders for Superior Court sentencings. "An organization like this basically says it is not."

San Diego police Sgt. Dave Jones, who oversees a group of investigators working on Internet crimes against children, says NAMBLA's Web site often pops up in computers on which they find child pornography.

Saturday, the FBI arrested three NAMBLA members at Harbor Island as they waited for a boat that undercover agents told them would sail to Ensenada for a sex retreat over Valentine's Day with boys as young as 9.

A San Diego federal judge denied bail for them yesterday.

The FBI said four NAMBLA members were arrested in a Los Angeles marina where they also planned to set sail to the bogus rendezvous.

The seven men represent a cross-section of America: a Dallas dentist, a Pittsburgh special-education teacher, a South Carolina substitute teacher, a New Mexico handyman, a Chicago flight attendant who is also a psychologist and two Florida men, a worker at a paper company and a personal trainer.

A Fullerton chiropractor who was also an assistant pastor at his church was arrested on child-pornography charges as part of the sting, and bail was set at $100,000.

He admitted taking an Encinitas boy to Balboa Park and molesting him, the FBI said in court documents. Prosecutors have not charged him in connection with those allegations.

Posted by kshaw at February 18, 2005 04:33 AM