Anthony Francis Paleveda was 19 when he met a girl on VampireFreaks.com, a website devoted to goth/industrial subcultures. He began communicating with her through email and text, before eventually picking her up from school and having sex with her.
Her middle school, that is. The girl was 12 years old.
Paleveda (now 21) was convicted on Monday of two counts of child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but this is just one of several acts of crime related to the website.
Kimveer Gill blogged at VampireFreaks, referring to himself in one post as ''the Angel of Death.'' In 2006 the 25-year-old armed himself with an assault rifle and went on a murderous rampage at Dawson College in Montreal, Canada, killing one woman and injuring 19 before committing suicide.
The same year in Atlanta, two more VampireFreaks users—a 12-year-old girl and her 23-year-old boyfriend—were charged with the first-degree murders of three members of a family. Police said the couple's violent plans may have been foretold to friends through the website.
The site has also been linked to a murder in Australia and a truly disturbing number of molestations and sexual assaults.
So what's going on here? Is there something about the site that attracts violent, hateful people? In 2006 the site owner fought back against media criticism, posting a statement on the front page that read, "The goth scene is a very friendly, nurturing, non-violent community and we are very supportive of our users and do not condone any illegal activities.''
The thing is, whenever you get a large number of people together in some sort of community, you're going to have a certain percentage of the population that's, well, fucked in the head. MySpace and Facebook have had similar issues in the past, so I personally can't blame the website that's all about vampire fetishism.
Still, despite my own (embarrassing) goth phase in middle school, I don't think I'd want my own kids messing around on VampireFreaks. Would you?
Image via Flickr/Cаvin 〄