It’s a great networking tool, a way to build connections to people with similar interests.
But the Internet can also act as a gathering place of a more sinister kind, a kind of dingy underground meeting place for people out for blood who find like-minded deviants.
From dating websites such as Plenty of Fish and lavalife to the more fringe sites such as Fetlife, where members meet up or talk about their love of bondage, bestiality and sadomasochism, the online world has become home to plenty of subcultures.
Fetlife is one of the social networking sites that Tanya Bogdanovich, 31, and Michael MacGregor, 19, appear to have frequented.
They also appear to have profiles on a site called “Kinky Cougar Connection” and “Brother/Sister Love.”
The two are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sarnia schoolteacher Noelle Paquette, 27. The allegations against the pair haven’t been proven in court.
Paquette went missing after leaving a New Year’s Eve party in Sarnia. Her body was found Jan. 2 in a woodlot on Mandaumin Rd.
“In some instances, acting out a fantasy with a paid or consenting partner, prior to committing a sexual crime with a stranger, can be a part of the evolutionary process between fantasy and violence,” said retired OPP criminal profiler Jim Van Allan, who now runs Behavioural Sciences Solutions Group Inc.
“Some offenders ‘role play’ as a behavioural tryout or rehearsal of a planned crime.”
Van Allen is not involved in the case.
The profiles on Fetlife that appear to be Bogdanovich and MacGregor’s contain graphic images of the two and discussions of the pair engaging in violent sex acts with each other and documenting their shared obsession with rape and torture.
“The Internet has certainly increased the networking capabilites of people,” Van Allan said.
“It plays a major role in people coming together. I would say the Internet goes to facilitate and enable social interaction, but it’s not what makes people dangerous.”
The vast majority of people involved in the bondage, bestiality and sadomasochism community are not violent outside of the subculture, said James Quinn, a researcher at the University of North Texas who has studied sexuality, deviance and crime.
“They’re going to work within the community to act out their fantasies,” he said. “We don’t know yet if people go to their sites because that’s what they’re attracted to or if they become attracted to that kind of thing because they go to those sites.”
It’s possible Bogdanovich and MacGregor may have met on a cougar website, given the large age difference between them, Quinn said.
“Sometimes, there’s just a bad combination of individuals,” he said. “There’s a dynamic of ratcheting up the level of intensity of the thought and the behaviour. The Internet just probably served as a communication device here.”
In some crimes, the Internet acts as a tool for boasting about crimes or displaying one’s fantasies. ...