NY Times reporter Kashmir Hill defended pedophile killer’s right to privacy.
Garrett Graff, a pedophile known during Stickam’s heyday as Psychotic R0uter, Absent Chaos and several other aliases, is responsible for a young boy’s suicide, the FBI exclusively confirmed with StickyDrama.
One day in 2015, StickyDrama received an email from the FBI. It’s subject: “A Case I Am Investigating.” The email was from Maureen Lese, a Special Agent working out of the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office—and a specialist in child porn cases.
Special Agent Lese requested StickyDrama’s assistance in a case she was investigating. She found us thanks to our own investigation into R0uter/Graff in 2009. Back then, StickyDrama subpoenaed documentation from GoDaddy.com after receiving a tip from a young man who had been victimized by R0uter. The hosting service confirmed that Garrett Graff owned r0uterHQ.com, where the individual then known as R0uter boasted of extorting nudes from underage boys. R0uter’s youngest known victim was 9 years old.
Speaking with circumspection due to the sensitive nature of the crime, Special Agent Lese told StickyDrama that a young boy had killed himself after being stalked by R0uter. Reading between the lines of her emails, StickyDrama recognized certain patterns of R0uter’s modus operandi: somehow gaining leverage against his young targets—be it a nude photograph voluntarily sent to the victim’s online crush, his family’s home address, or outright threats—Graff would extort sexually explicit photos and videos. Many victims initially complied; but R0uter always demanded more and more graphic material, until the victim finally reached a breaking point. At that point, Graff would typically publish everything anyway, humiliating that victim and then moving along to the next.
But things didn’t go according to plan this time. Unable to cope with Graff’s demands and threats, the victim killed himself. At first, the boy’s parents had no idea why their son had taken his own life. (Special Agent Lese declined to specify the manner of death, only that it was a suicide.) After searching the boy’s computer, it was later discovered that he was being stalked and harassed by someone eventually determined by the FBI to be Garrett Graff.
StickyDrama delayed publication of this story while the FBI’s investigation continued. The case was forwarded to the U.S. Attorney, who ultimately declined to prosecute. According to Special Agent Lese, the main obstacle to prosecution was that no victim would testify in court. While Special Agent Lese agreed with StickyDrama that Graff was indeed R0uter and he had caused the death of this boy, the U.S. Attorney did not feel they had enough evidence for a conviction. Special Agent Lese added that the family of the deceased boy was devastated by the U.S. Attorney’s decision not to prosecute.
Stictly speaking, the FBI only recommended charging Graff with producing child pornography. But StickyDrama believes that charges of second degree murder or at least manslaughter should have been filed here. Not all killers use guns and knives: Words can be lethal too. Consider the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michelle Carter, who encouraged her boyfriend to commit suicide in a series of text messages.
Ever since our own childhood, StickyDrama has been a fan of Agatha Christie, especially And Then There Were None. Towards the end of the novel, readers learn how the character Vera drowned a little boy—not by forcefully holding him under the water, but rather luring him dangerously far from the shore with words:
“You can go to the rock, Cyril …”
That was what murder was – as easy as that!
Graff probably did not intend for the boy to kill himself. But he intentionally, recklessly, maliciously harassed his young victim to such an extent, he should have known that a child might foreseeably commit suicide. That’s what murder is—easy as that.
After informing StickyDrama of the U.S. Attorney’s disappointing decision, Special Agent Lese added that nothing prevents a future prosecution if new evidence comes to light. If anything in his patterns and tactics as described here strikes you as familiar, please contact the FBI. Any bureau is fine, but reference Garrett Graff. StickyDrama has reached out to 3 known victims of R0uter; but all declined to assist, either citing a desire not to relive that time in their lives or to avoid embarrassment. And R0uter has thus escaped justice.
Hill, who now works at the New York Times and covers online privacy issues, declined StickyDrama’s request for comment on this tragic update.