This has very little to do with the normal topics of this blog, but yesterday the LA Times (reg. req.) published an article regarding the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit that focused on their fight against child pornography (Sifting Clues to an Unsmiling Girl). They are the law enforcement organization that photoshopped the victims out of child porn photos in order to get the public's assistance in identifying the backgrounds (it worked). In any case, the article had this amazing claim:
On one wall is a "Star Trek" poster with investigators' faces substituted for the Starship Enterprise crew. But even that alludes to a dark fact of their work: All but one of the offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core Trekkie.
Wow. All but one in four years. Seemed rather unlikely to me.
So, I called the Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit and spoke to Det. Ian Lamond, who was familiar with the LA Times article.
He claims they were misquoted, or if that figure was given it was done so jokingly. Of course, even if the figure was given jokingly, shouldn't the Times' reporter have clarified something that seems rather odd? Shouldn't her editors have questioned her sources?
Nevertheless, Detective Lamond does claim that a majority of those arrested show "at least a passing interest in Star Trek, if not a strong interest."
They've arrested well over one hundred people over the past four years and Det. Lamond claims they can gauge this interest in Star Trek by the arrestees' "paraphenalia, books, videotapes and DVDs." I asked if this wasn't simply a general interest in science fiction and fantasy, such as Star Wars or Harry Potter or similar. Paraphrasing his answer, he said, while there was sometimes other science fiction and fantasy paraphenalia, Star Trek was the most consistent and when he referred to a majority of the arrestees being Star Trek fans, it was Star Trek specific.
A weird factoid. Nevertheless, it is not correct that "all but one ... in the last four years" was a hard core Star Trek fan.
UPDATE May 4, 2005
The LA Times is standing by its story (Star Trek and Pedophilia Claim Followup).
UPDATE May 30, 2005. 1200PT
Det. Lamond tells another reporter that the "all but one" claim is hyperbole: Hopefully the Last Post on the Star Trek/Pedophilia Connection.