The Monster Hunters
Online pedophile hunting is a growing movement worldwide made up of people who are for the most part ill-informed 'followers' of strong personalities who manipulate others for personal gain or power. Many of the hunters, as is the nature of the behaviour they exhibit, are mentally unstable or unwell. They tend to be unemployed, publicly housed, poorly educated, illiterate, and unable to see through the 'games' that their narcissistic leaders play. They feel safe confronting a target, or encouraging the vilification of a target, from the safety of their own home via an internet connection although they would often not be so comfortable confronting anyone face to face.
Pedophile hunting is simply vigilantism, online. Police say that the pedophile hunting groups online can drive predators they are on the verge of arresting underground and that the vigilantes are only seeking to make money and find fame. Police forces believe that for the most part they are not protecting children at all. In one case in Alberta, a vigilante group confronted a pedophile who police were preparing to arrest. The target disappeared after being confronted, and is accused of molesting a baby and a toddler afterwards.1
There is also the reality that the untrained and unqualified online hunting groups wrongly target people who haven't committed any form of child abuse. In some cases, the allegation of child abuse is simply a cover for a person to target someone they don't like. False allegations are easy to make on the internet where most members of a pedophile hunters group won't bother ensuring the facts are correct. It's a personality sport for many, rather than a legitimate investigative activity. Infighting amongst groups and their leaders, all vying for a ranking position based on page likes and live video views is rampant. Mob bullying is the rule rather than the exception.
These groups, often led by people who have a personal power and control agenda rather than a genuine desire to protect their communities, have wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent people. They have targeted people genuinely concerned for the welfare of young people, leading to suicides and in one case the vilification of a man with a physical disability that was labelled as a mental disorder. As of January 2019, at least eight men in the UK have killed themselves in the last six years after being labelled child sex offenders on social media by so-called 'pedophile hunters'. The majority of the men took their own lives within days of being filmed, and named and shamed on social media.2 Jim Gamble, who ran the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) until 2010, is scathing of such groups. He says they are often abusers who are trying to reinvent themselves as good people, and the groups attract people with domestic abuse records and coercive control. Monster hunting, according to Gamble, "makes them feel good about who they are and allows them to mask some of their other behaviours."3
The hunting, or 'creep catching' as it is otherwise known, has been described as "a product of its era, a messy amalgam of influences such as reality TV and tabloid culture, all amplified by the internet."4 In the case of John Aster, he was never "exposed" as a pedophile. Michelle Stewart lied about him. Pete Geary used Michelle's lies as a means to cover his own abusive and sexually violent behaviours. John Anderson, under orders from Peter Geary, simply bullied Aster mercilessly for years until he was a broken man. The team continued to accuse Aster of child abuse and pedophilia despite being well aware that the accusations were nothing but lies.
Aster was a victim of men who sought to feather their own nests at his expense. Geary's BUACA network and Anderson's multiple websites served only themselves. They relied on purchased foreign followers and advertising gimmicks from Fiverr to give viewers the impression that these groups had a large following. In fact, they didn't. They had very few. Geary's BUACA has never had more than 25 volunteers according to it's charity returns.
While Geary used his false portrayal of Aster as the demon that every Australian parent needs to fear while trying to promote his own interests, Anderson used the Aster story just to promote his own 'voice acting' career. In reality, Anderson's career was down the toilet as soon as it became known that he smoked marijuana constantly and liked to threaten to kill people online. No brand wants that kind of publicity. Anderson's fake pedophile hunter group was a farce. He never exposed a single pedophile. He once publicly confronted and humiliated a convicted pedophile who had already served his sentence and been released back into the community under monitoring - but Anderson certainly didn't 'expose' him. He had simply verbally abused and humiliated a man who had already served his sentence and who had committed no further crime. Both Geary and Anderson were always just conmen.
"If Peter Geary doesn't want to stop, he must be made to stop. The harm is deliberately inflicted, knowingly false, and obviously criminal. He might as well have cut Aster's throat as a public display of his childish tantrums."