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The “White-Collar Predator” — Guest Blog by Chris McDonough

(A lot of crime bloggers or websleuths could be accused of being wannabe cops.

Chris McDonough is the real deal, and I’m proud to present the guest post he’s contributed to The True Crime Blog.

Chris is a national child safety expert who is called upon by the police when they need insight and expertise on understanding and catching sexual predators. As a retired homicide detective with more than 25 years of law enforcement experience, he trains homicide detectives with the Institute Of Investigative Science (www.iois.net) in analyzing criminal behavior. Chris’s media appearances are numerous and include The Oprah Winfrey Show. He is dedicated to protecting children and just launched a new website — www.predatorsafety.com — as a one-stop resource for parents and the community to help keep kids safe.)

I appreciate this opportunity Steve has given me to post here on truecrimeblog.com.

Here we go. I want to talk about a new phenomenon that I’ve coined the “White-Collar Predator.”

It’s been said that behavior is a mirror in which everyone displays his own image. Criminals are masters of projecting the image they want you to see.

To better understand criminal behavior and the “White-Collar Predator,” you first have to look at the three types of lives that we all live. The first is our public life, the second is our private life and the third is our secret life. In our secret life, this is where secret thoughts can begin then build into fantasies which can give birth to sexual deviant behavior.

Our public life is what we want to show the world; our best behavior. And from this, this is how we want to be judged by others. Our private life is seen only by those closest to us and is how we actually behave. In our secret life, we consciously decide to conceal our behavior. All deviant criminal behavior occurs in the secret life.

Deviant criminals learn to master their secret life within their private life through years of learned behavior. Let me give you an example. The BTK killer, Dennis Rader, had a public and private persona of being a Boy Scout leader, a church leader and the community dog catcher. Yet all the while he was driven by his sexual fantasies in his hunt for a new victim. His secret life was never turned off and neither were his sexual fantasies. That’s what made him and guys like him so dangerous.

With the popularity of the internet, I’ve noticed an alarming new trend. We’re seeing professionals, white-collar folks, who are driven by their sexual fantasies which are readily fueled by pornography available on the internet. Pornography has always been a common denominator in criminals’ behavior in every sexual homicide case I’ve ever worked.

In the past, secret sexual behavior was, for the most part, contained to bathrooms with dirty magazines or in the black books of madams. That’s as far as it usually went. There may have been further sexual fantasies but the fuel was limited and thus they were not acted upon. Most individuals went to great lengths to protect their public and private personas.

Now the internet has allowed people in private to develop a virtual secret life where sexual fantasy has no limit masked by a public persona. The floodgates have been opened. It should no longer surprise us when we see doctors, lawyers and computer engineers being arrested for soliciting sex in chat rooms with our children. It’s no longer contained to the bathroom; it’s meeting a 13-year-old in a motel room. This is the “White-Collar Predator.”

The flip side to this disturbing new trend is now we’re seeing a distinction among predators; the “White-Collar Predator” and those who cannot compete intellectually. I’m going on the record saying this is a shift in criminal behavior unlike anything we’ve seen before.

In cyberspace, there’s sexual-fantasy jockeying going on for our children. White- Collar Predators have the intellectual advantage in chat rooms. Fueled by the same sexual fantasies, a white-collar predator may get a hook up while the other guy is forced into a voyeurism-only role watching the chat exchange. They are also driven to satisfy their fantasies so they take their hunt out into our neighborhoods and playgrounds.

Because of this phenomenon, we must consistently educate our children of the dangers that can lurk on the streets and of the dangers that may not be readily seen online. Times are changing and the criminal mind is adapting.

(Be sure to check out my guest blog entry at Chris’s PredatorSafety.com Weblog as well. ~ S.H.)