Do police use p(a)edophiles as informers?

Disclosure: This is research for another thread I plan to start

Do the police use paedophiles as informers? I can think of reasons to do so and reasons not to do so so am interested in what actually happens. The more jurisdictions I hear about the better.

Why wouldn’t they? If you have somebody that can lead you further up the chain, I would assume they would take advantage of it.

How would the police know which people are pedophiles?

If you’re busted for child porn, the prosecutor could cut you a deal: turn in your source, and face less prison time.

I can tell you confidently that [some] child molesters operate in “rings.” The uncle who molested me back in the day hung out with a gang of 5-8 other guys who would “share” the kids they’d groomed with each other. It goes on today; from time to time you’ll read about such rings being busted by the feds, or the Interpol, or Scotland Yard, or what have you.

The best police procedural novels ever written (the 87th precinct series by Ed McBain) has such an informer. The way it’s explained in the books is that he’s closely tied to other criminal elements, such as drug dealers & gun runners. So, he’s served his time, and tho they’re disgusted by him, the detectives regularly use him to catch bad guys.

Pretty standard to offer some leniency in return for information and cooperation. You read about it in some cases all the time. The police bust one guy and his information leads them to the rest of the ring.

However, I have no doubt the police are very very careful what they allow the guy to say and do if he is pretending to be a participant in some online chats, entrapment, etc. The last thing the want is to have the court case reveal that “this child would not have been molested if you had not let such-and-such happen…” (except maybe worse would be if a child dies because of police mis-action.)

it’s kind of tricky because anything the informant does is already illegal. You can’t turn a guy loose and say “enjoy your downloads, just tell us who you get them from”. It’s more of the situation that the guy is caught, is in custody, and they plunk him down in front of a computer to make the necessary connections with the police techs monitoring the whole process. the police aer not going to ignore child molestation or porn in return for somehing else. That’s a CLM - Career Limiting Move.

I assume someone charged with possessing child porn via the internet would be forbidden from using a computer (unsupervised, at least) as part of bail conditions.

As for someone released and maybe also done their probation - why would they admit to police anything that might get them re-arrested? If you are a perennial suspect (as many child molesters or purveyors would be) why would you get anywhere near the police so they might catch you reoffending?

If they were on parole or even imprisoned for the crime it would be pretty easy to identify them. I imagine the police would use them if they could benefit an investigation in some way.

This is going to require a cite.

They wouldn’t. They would be approached by the police as you even said in your first sentence. It’s standard operating procedure for the police to try and use “low level” people for informational purposes to get more dirty on people higher up.

So if they catch a person with a large child pornography collection on his computer, while he’s rotting in jail or a questioning cell, he can be offered a less harsh punishment, if he shows them the websites or methods he used to obtain his videos or pictures or whatever.

I am not sure about as a condition of bail, but it’s extremely common for people on parole or probation for crimes committed via computer like soliciting a minor (a la To Catch A Predator), internet kiddie porn or high-tech identity theft to be ordered not to go online or have computer access.

My understanding, which is limited to that of a civilian, is that just about any low-level offender may be encouraged to give the officers information useful in apprehending a higher-level suspect. As a fictional example, in the movie Colors, at one point, Robert Duvall’s long-time veteran cop character catches some youngish guys with some sort of illegal drug, but rather than hauling them in, crushes the powdery substance under his shoe by way of saying, “O.K., I’m going to let you go this time–now what can you do for me?” The film makes an explicit point of sequence by zooming in on his boot as he crushes the eightball into the pavement.

On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine what kind of pedophilism-related crime can be low-level enough that the perpetrator is out walking around.

Informer? You mean to find out which kid is stealing all the dinner money at school?

Okay I’ll get my coat…

In what jurisdiction is pedophilia a crime?

One who perpetrates sexual abuse of a child is commonly referred to as a pedophile. It may not be the legal definition, but it’s certainly one that is commonly used.

My point was of course they’re going to pump someone they caught for information, demonstrations of what was done, lead them to others, etc.

But as a classical informant- “we’ll ignore what you are doing as long as you keep insinuating yourself into things and bring us the big fish” - I seriously doubt someone would be allowed to continue downloading and enjoying porn that is illegal and possibly causing children to be in danger, let alone hanging out in playgrounds and so on. There’s a big difference between minor drug dealing or theft, and sexual assualt on children.

Plus, there’s that whole thing about all the evidence coming out in court. What the informant does is going to be seriously scrutinized for entrapment. Credibility of the informant will be key - so the police are going to want to monitor or record what happens, rahther than try to put away A based on the sole testimony of B who is also charged with a similar crime, and whose testimony is traded for freedom or leniency.

Scariest username/subject combo. Ever.

I could potentially see cops taking someone caught downloading child porn and giving them a break for sitting in a police station under watch and showing officers where they go to download it and how, assuming that such an arrangement would be legal. Truth be told, if I wanted to download naughty pictures of children, I don’t really know where I would get them. Seems that cops might be interested in knowing.