Naked Rape Beef

On Friday afternoon TobyJoe got a phone call from our ISP (internet service provider). The caller works in the “sensitive material” department and called to inform TobyJoe that they had received a phone call from an international crime agency stating that one of the photos on was being used on a Web site for pedophiles operating out of the Netherlands. In typical Michele fashion, I completely freaked out. I told Toby to take the site down immediately. And in typical TobyJoe fashion he calmed me down telling me not to do anything too irrational and let him take care of it. I then suggested he remove every single photograph from, even the ones of trees, empty bar stools, scones and cats. But he reminded me that if we were to do that, my Web site would look like crap. I’ve been taking pictures for 6 years. Letting it be overrun by a bunch of red Xes is not the most appealing option.

Late Friday I put up a graphic on Flickr letting people know that something was wrong. I didn’t really give any details and I’m regretting that now. Because the email I received in response have been filled with some pretty creative assumptions. No, we are not being stalked by an actual person. No, I am not in any physical danger. It’s creepy stuff, but we’re not in any harm. It’s just very disturbing, receiving a phone call like that. I’m sorry I wasn’t more specific. I didn’t want to cook up any Internet drama so I tried to keep it simple. In doing so, I think I created more. And I am sorry about that.

TobyJoe and I have discussed this. For now, we’ve turned off hotlinking, which means people can no longer link directly to my images making it harder for people to feature them on messageboards (which happens all the time but never for something this disturbing) and on personal Web sites. That fix works for now. It doesn’t stop people from taking screen caps of each image and hosting it themselves, but it works for the time being.

We also discussed password protecting this Web site. I’m not sure I want to do that. I have my reasons for keeping it public but I won’t go into it here. (Perhaps I will in the comments section.)

TobyJoe spent Friday night digging through our logs to find out when the picture had been linked. The photo went up on that board on September 20th, 2007. (As an aside, the crime agency really is doing its job. It didn’t take them long to let our ISP know about it. One must wonder what they’re cooking up. Either way, I feel a little better knowing they’re out there.) It took us a while because the image was a bit older but we found it and promptly removed it. It has been replaced with a great big “F*CK YOU, PERVERTS. YOU’RE SO PATHETIC.” (Not that the messageboard will see it since hotlinking is disabled, but if they visit google again and search for a specific string that’s what they’ll see now. And let me tell you, that image turned up for all sorts of sick search variations. I am disgusted with Google. For example, say you have a picture of your dinner with the caption “Nice Roast Beef”. A person may find your image by searching “Naked Rape Beef” not that I know what that means. Basically, you don’t even have to have the word “rape” on that page and Google will find it because, hell, it’s close enough!)

So we ordered a pizza pie and ran a couple of Ruby scripts and we extracted every single IP address (all 585 of them) that hit that particular messageboard thread. And for about 30 seconds today, I posted each and every one of them here. And then we realized that in doing so we were potentially putting ourselves at an even greater risk especially since said pedo board is important enough to be watched by an international crime organization. And the last thing I want to do is piss off a bunch of pedophiles. So, I took all the IPs down. (I have half a mind to send the unedited version of this post to NBC. They seem to enjoy outing pedophiles. We have no idea what to do with all these IPs if anything at all. And some of them are from the U.S. Remember, this is a private messageboard run by pedophiles for pedophiles. If someone’s a member, that someone is the real deal. They’re not just there for the “articles”.)

From now on many of my Flickr pictures are going to be marked as “For Friends and Family.” If you want to see the photos, please let me know. If I know you personally or trust you because I’ve seen you around these parts enough, then I’d be happy to add you to my contact list. It sucks that it has to be this way but I’m not willing to take the risk especially since I/we can’t control hotlinking over there.

And in regard to I’m still not sure about its future. I feel a little less insane about the whole thing today but I’m still not sure the blog is worth it and posting pictures of anyone scares me. I’m responsible for another life, a life I would give my own for. Do I kill the blog? Do I only write? Do I turn it into something else entirely? Do I sell the domain to the highest bidder? (heh) Do I take a break and figure it out? Or do I just realize that this is the way the world works and hope the US government (and NBC) is taking care of us at least with regard to online predators.

I guess this is an explanation as to why I acted the way I did on Friday. It’s also an obvious reminder to those who post photographs of children and believe they are being viewed innocently online. In the wrong hands, the pictures of your children may be used as fodder for something dark and disgusting. And at the rate things are going, the only people who’re going to feel safe online in a few years are going to be the pedophiles, a couple of MySpace users, and the Kool-Aid drinking, tinfoil hat wearing religious zealots.

Update: Tuesdays with Murray will be back next week!


  1. I too am struggling with some online issues…whether to make my Flickr pics only available to friends and family or just wipe out all of my tags. Especially after I read about Sweet Juniper’s Flickr experience regarding one of their pics.

    I just have to sit down and take the time to actually figure it all out.


  2. Oh, what rotten shit for you to have to go through! One rotten apple really does spoil the whole bunch huh? Keep up the faith, because no matter what you do, there’s always going to be some asshat out there to spoil the fun. I’m a regular reader, and I love your blog….do what you feel is right. I’m a big believer in gut feelings, you’ll know where to go from here.


  3. Ohh…what a sucky thing to find out. Although, better that you DID find it out. Selfishly, I’d like your blog to continue to be public, as I enjoy reading (and seeing Emorys new pics!) daily, even though you don’t really know me, and I don’t really know you. Although I do seem to post a lot here these days! ;)
    I hope you figure it out, I have no wise words to share, sorry.


  4. Wow, Michele, this sucks. I’m pretty impressed they found and informed you so fast though. But I agree with Shawnte, your gut will tell you what is the right thing to do.


  5. Shawnte: I wish it were one bad apple! But in this case it’s at least 585 bad apples. That’s a lot of bad apples.


  6. this is just ridiculous. i love the internet but also know that i equally hate it. after sesameellis and some of her contacts went through a picture stealing problem…i took all my daughter’s pics down. i am a worry wart…a hardcore one. i constantly worry about my pictures being snatched and possibly used for something wicked like this. i wish the best for you guys…i am also a frequent reader and especially was touched by your 9-11-01 stories. BUT….i totally understand if you would decide to take this baby down. maybe the password protect would be good. or maybe putting pictures in a password gallery of some sort?


  7. That is creepy! Keep me in mind if you take the site private.


  8. Oh Mihow, I am so sorry to hear this. It just gives me the creeps that people do this. I have had many second thoughts, third thought and fifty million other ones about posting my girls’ pictures online….
    It really sickens me that people do this. I am happy to hear that your ISP company did let you know about it. As far as what to do with your site…I agree with the others, do what is in your gut. If you decide to take down let it be known that it will be missed.


  9. My god…what the fuck is wrong with people? Michelle and Toby I hope things work out…either way your readers will understand.

    I am now going to flickr right now to do the same.


  10. I hope you keep writing in some capacity, even if it’s w/o photos. I love your site and your writing and even watching Emory grow. But family does come first.

    Thanks for updating us. It’s good to know there are people out there watching out for this kind of stuff.

    I also hope you can keep me as a flickr contact (mangohula).


  11. I don’t think I’ve ever commented although I love reading your blog.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.


  12. You know, I have been doing a lot of thinking, when is a parent crossing the line of safety when it comes to putting up images of their children? Why do we feel that every picture taken now adays with a digital camera is supposed to go online? I’m having a pretty big moral dilemma about this. Even if Emory isn’t in harms way when it comes to these sick people who’s to say he’s going to one day be pleased with the fact that I put him publicly all over the Internet? His privacy would be destroyed without giving him a decision at all. That hardly seems fair. You know?

    I’m thinking out loud here. this has been a thought I’ve had for some time, it didn’t just happen in light of what took place on Friday. that just pushed it to the forefront making me realize that I really need to make a decision.


  13. Woah-Now I know why one of my favorite photos of my nephew has been viewed so many times. It’s a perfectly innocent photo btw… Anyway-thanks for posting this, I just spent the last half hour making any of my flickr photos with a child in them private to the public. I can’t believe what a jackass I am not to have done that from the beginning-It’s a Sick world and I forget that sometimes.


  14. Stay strong Michele – That is truly awful that Em’s pic was used like that. There are some people out there that truly suck, but you can’t avoid them unless you just stop participating. You’re blog and photos are a highlight of my day. I understand if you want to go dark because that situation is truly scary. I’m not going to let sick people ruin the fun of sharing the pics of my son though. (I barely put any tags on my photos to begin with, so they aren’t as easy to find) There will ALWAYS be sick people out there and so many things that I can’t control. Sure I can mark everything private, I can control that, but I don’t want to. Maybe I’m being an idiot, but I just don’t want to hide my photos. I’m much more afraid of the childless goons at the playground.


  15. Dee – It wasn’t Em’s pic. It was just a pic michele happened to have up. Either way, it’s twisted.


  16. I don’t really blame you for freaking out. In fact, it occurs to me that I have pictures of my niece on my flickr site too. I imagine I am probably due for a freakout as well.


  17. I’m glad it wasn’t a pic of Emory.. but that is really terrifying.

    I’m increasingly hearing stories similar to this- not of someone actually linking or using a photo, but of generational fears of online content of family member photos. a lot of ‘what ifs’ that parents and grandparents have.

    if only there were a service that could link to sites where you have family photos for friends, but hide them from other viewers of your blog or myspace…


  18. I am just wondering if it’s right to put up pictures of someone who has no say in the matter yet. I dunno. Been really thinking long and hard about this one. I’m not hiding the photos. I’m merely making it so the folks I know and/or care about can see them. It’d be like sharing a baby book with someone instead of printing it and giving everyone access to it. I can’t say I would have been pleased had my mother had posted every single picture of me publicly online. But that’s me.

    Also, yes, the picture was of a little girl. I won’t go into any further because I want to keep those details private but it wasn’t of Em.


  19. jon – working on some thoughts all weekend…


  20. Good it wasn’t Em. I hear you on privacy and sharing. My family isn’t very internet savvy. I’m not sure if I marked the photos private, they’d ever see them again. I’d probably get an angry phone call from his grandma! That’s the only way they get to participate on a regular basis is through the photos I post. It’s also a good backup in case of hard drive failure or something more drastic like an earthquake or fire. It will be interesting to see how the concept of “privacy” evolves as our little guys grow up thanks to the internet.


  21. Mihow, I am so sorry. I don’t think you’re overreacting. If you’ll add me I’d love to be able to continue to see your pictures. :-)

    With regard to sending the IP addresses to NBC, I say, SEND THEM. In fact, perhaps you can start your own pedophile outing website (I’ll help you) and just leave your name and pictures out of it. These people deserve whatever the hell they get.


  22. Michele,

    I have a few High School yearbook photos that I wish had never been published. So, I hear ya on the consent to having your photo published issue.

    I was in High School before Al Gore invented the internet. :)


  23. Toby-

    Its funny… one of the issues we’ve had with pitching VCs is that people are constantly saying “well who really cares about that? why is privacy and controlling linkage between your accounts even important?”. Its not until someone has a scary experience, like yours, that it begins to make sense.

    Short of starting a massive campaign of FUD to make people think about online safety (which I’m not averse to), I think the real utility of FindMeOn that people grasp linkage in general – not the safe, secure , private and open aspects.


  24. A good friend of mine had made a flickr “friend” that eventually hacker her computers stole a racy photo of an adult. Then attempted to blackmail her by saying he would send the racy photo to all her friends and family if she didn’t send a picture of her 4 y.o. daughter in the bath. She immediately called the cops, notified Flickr and contacted the FBI. I think the cops took a report and sadly Flickr and FBI did nothing. I was shocked and scared for what I could be subjecting my children to. I no longer share pictures of my children with strangers!


  25. One more thing, out those disgusting pervs. To the other Julie, I like your idea of starting the website. I’m sure a pedophile’s anonymity is something they value highly.


  26. Well, I don’t know if it will be helpful or not, but here’s our resolution.

    1. I don’t have a blog, so it’s easy for me to not worry about google images.

    2. Flickr stream is public because our families are NOT tech savvy at all.

    3. I have my Flickr prefs set to keep all my images and my profile from being found in public searches or any public areas of the site (so they won’t appear anywhere on flickr except my stream). Even if you name them and tag them, they won’t be found.

    4. Turned off permission to download.

    5. Created another flickr account for commenting on traffic heavy streams.

    Basically, no one can find my pictures unless I send them there, or unless someone adds me as a contact and people browse through others’ contacts. I imagine pedophiles won’t take the time to do that when they can so simply search for “bathtime fun” or something and get instant results.

    But in general, I figure you can’t defeat all the bastards and pervs in the world. And just as soon as I take down all my shirtless baby pics, I’ll bump into some asshole at target who gets off on toddlers with red shoes or some obscure fetish. I won’t throw kiddo to the lions, but I won’t let the fear of lions lurking about change the way we live our life, online or off.

    Good luck with your decision, guys. I’m sure it will be the right one for you and Emory.


  27. Snow: that’s quite helpful; I had no idea all that was poss on Flickr. Thanks.


  28. I am really sorry this happened to you!

    You bring up an interesting point about posting pictures of someone who can’t give permission—I imagine we will be hearing a lot more about this in the future when some of those “famous” internet babies become teenagers.


  29. I’m sorry that all this is happening to you guys – thank goodness your ISP called to let you know, though. I enjoy reading about your experiences, pre and post Emory, but I totally would understand whatever your decision will be overall.

    Take care.


  30. I made edits to Flickr. If there were only a way to keep Google from searching personal Web sites. I imagine that’s impossible, right? Unless I do the entire thing in Flash 5.0. :] Heh

    Thanks guys. I imagine I’m too much of a narcissist to give up the blog entirely. But photos will have to be managed somehow. I think the bigger question here (after the dust settled) is the fact that I’m posting images of a person who can’t decide for themselves and not necessarily a bunch of pedophiles in the Netherlands. I have thought about this time and time again and am really having a hard time deciding what I’ll do.

    Anyway… Cyn, I think you’re right. In time when the Internet babies grow up, we’ll know more about how that shit settles. :]


  31. I hope this isn’t your niece’s picture…


  32. No, it’s not my nieces picture.


  33. i hope i will get to see little emory dude on flickr at some point. he really is adorable and it gives me a reason to bug toby at work ;)

    that said, i do make an effort to keep all my nephews pics friends and family only. mainly because i don’t want to find myself in the netherlands or poland or somewhere with an uzi trained on those sick fucks. i’m glad that your isp alerted you, but if you ever need any citizens’ justice, i will be glad to give them a beating :)


  34. Man, Interpol is out there doing its job. And they busted that Nevada guy who taped himself having sex with a 3-year-old. Thank God. Dude is one sick bastard. He’s never gonna know what hit him once he meets his new roommates in prison.


  35. michele-

    I think that guy needs to be put in jail for an indefinite amount of time, and needs a lot of metal counseling.

    But quotes like “He’s never gonna know what hit him once he meets his new roommates in prison” are really scary. I’m not scared that you said that… I’m scared at how true that statement it.

    Our current prison system is plagued with prisoner abuse and rape, often times as a form of institutionalized control or punishment. That guy will in all likelihood be raped and multilated repeatedly by other inmates, while guards turn the other cheek. Thats not justice, and that’s certainly “cruel and unusual”. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and while its easy for society to take vengeance on people like that—we all know that its a pretty bad indicator of how we’re functioning as a civilization and culture.

    Lock him away, toss away the key… but set him up to be raped? We can do better than that. We should do better than that.

    But we won’t, which is exactly why you’re right—he’s really never gonna know what hit him once he meets his new roommates in prison.


  36. You know what’s funny? I never thought “rape” at all. I have always been under the impression that pedophiles are seen as too vile to touch in a sexual manner. I figured he’d get killed. And, while I don’t agree with teh state deciding if a person should live or die, I can’t say I’d shed a tear if some guy were to kick the life out of this monster.


  37. ok that was heartless. yes, our prisons need work. i agree with you there entirely.


  38. I know how much all of this sucks and whatever decision you come to will be respected. Would love to be able to catch up with Murray and E.


  39. michele, a carefully-crafted robots.txt will keep google from spidering the site. there are other search tools that may or may not pay attention, though.


  40. Let’s do it, TJ. Then I can feel comfortable about continuing this here puppy. I finally started making money off this son of a bitch! Finally!

    Plus, I don’t have much of a life right now. Breaking up with the blog could prove kinda sad.


  41. I’m sorry, I don’t care how “wrong” it is, but I don’t feel a goddamn thing for pedophiles! Kill them all, torture them, mame them, they really don’t deserve to live……They are not people to me. I’m sorry. If that’s wrong, then I don’t think I want to be right……

    (steps down off of soapbox) :


  42. Get back up there, young lady! I tend to agree with you. I really won’t shed one single tear should this guy get beat to death. I hate saying that. I hate feeling that way but to rape a 3 year old? Well, you had it coming, imo. Now that I’m a mother I feel even more hateful toward them.


  43. I completely understand your internal debate about posting photos of and writing about your son without his permission. I had promised myself that at the age of 3, I would stop. Then I kept going and finally decided to quit last December. There were a number of factors that caused me to leave my “Mommy Blog” but this was a large factor.

    I think writing about Emory as a baby is fine. He’ll be interested and probably think it’s pretty special. There are enough Mommy Blogs out there that he won’t be alone in having his infancy documented on the web. However, once he can read, or once he has peers that can read, does he want his friends knowing that when he was 4 he liked to smell his own farts? It’s a totally cute and normal thing to do but I thought to myself… he might not think this way at 8 years old and his Mom’s blog url is being passed around the class.

    As for the photos, I only make the public the ones that do not show my son’s face. There are many online that show the backs of him, however. I had a scary experience of a creepy guy making comments on a photo and that was it. It took awhile to teach my mother-in-law how to remember a flickr password and how to sign in to see her precious grandson but it was worth the effort.

    Probably nothing is going to happen but if it did, if someone were hanging around my home, his Kindergarten, our bus stop all because of what he was reading about us online… I would never forgive myself.

    This is just my experience and what I’ve done. My two cents… er, no. More like my two thousand sense. See what not having a blog will do? I’m planning on starting again in the new year but it will no longer be family orientated. Your comment section will thank me for it…


  44. Thanks for the comment, Ada. Maybe that’s an idea. Keep the blog only until he’s a certain age. I do enjoy writing about him/me/us and the people here have been so unbelievably helpful during some really rough times for me. I can only hope that some folks finding this site via Google have gotten some much needed comfort as well after stumbling on some of the sound advice given here (by commenters).

    I do believe I will continue for the time being and see how it goes. Going to take a wee break (a week off) but when I get back I think I will feel better about what happened last friday. I do know one thing: pictures of kids are off limits from now on.


  45. Not to derail the thread, but what if someone is convicted of molesting a child, and it turns out he didn’t…. The kid made it up – was attacked by someone else – and just pointed at a convenient target from fear. Everyone went along, and the police/da created a way to convict. Now we have a guy who commited no crime, is fighting to get out of jail and clear his name, and is the victim of institutionalized abuse. First he’s beaten, then raped. They might knock out some teeth so he can’t bite. Pedophiles aren’t treated well by the prison community – they have kids too, you know – so they might try to do even more awful things, like castrate or otherwise mutilate his genitals.

    I don’t have tolerance for people who hurt others. While I no tolerance or respect for those who commit a crime, I feel even worse about those who believe that commiting crimes against the accused/convicted are justified by their vengeance. Rape, molesation, murder, beating are all wrong – it doesn’t matter the context or situation.

    People love to talk about the ‘slippery slope’ of granting people rights like equal marriage and reproduction —well what about the violation of rights? On the most basic level , no legal system is perfect, there are loads of mistakes – we can only be assureed beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty , not ‘no doubt’ and there are so many levels of evidence allowance/suppression.

    But if you really think about things… if we start rationalizing crimes against individuals for any single reason—what keeps us from expanding the list of justifications? If it’s ok to torture/kill someone because we think they committed a crime , where does that really leave us? Monday is beat up pedophiles day. Tuesday? let’s run over the jaywalkers. Wed- beat up the jews—they don’t accept jesus. Thurday, woot! The day we all get to rape women. Friday, if you’re not white you better hide!

    Thats not the kind of world I want to live in. Maybe its the kind some people want – and thats sad. Just because a section of society thinks its ok to beat/rape/kill someone doesn’t mean that its now moral. Its still abhorrent.


  46. I understand your points, I really do. And perhaps this is too close to home for me to discuss (let’s just say I wouldn’t be picked for a jury for a pedophile) but considering the guy in question is seen on a tape actually raping a 3-year-old, I find it impossible to not wish him sudden death.

    That’s why I’m going to back out of this discussion. Because I DO really see all of your points, but this one is way too f*cked up for me to separate rational thought from the emotional side.

    I do hope you understand where I’m coming from. And I really do understand and normally totally agree with what you wrote.


  47. Wow, that really, really sucks.

    I hope I can keep reading/watching… I’m not a creepy weirdo, I promise! (Well I’m a weirdo. But I’m not creepy!)


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