Online roleplay can be 'rehearsal' for violent crimes: Expert

Tanya Bogdanovich and Michael MacGregor. (Facebook/HO)

Tanya Bogdanovich and Michael MacGregor. (Facebook/HO)

Kate Dubinski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:09 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. — As two alleged fetishists await trial in the murder of an Ontario kindergarten teacher, Internet experts are mulling how people make the leap from online fantasy to real-world crime.

Tanya Bogdanovich, 31, and Michael MacGregor, 19, are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sarnia schoolteacher Noelle Paquette, 27.

The pair appear to have frequented Fetlife together, a site where members meet up or talk about their love of bondage and sadomasochism,

They also appear to have profiles on a site called Kinky Cougar Connection and Brother/Sister Love.

"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 Ontario Provincial Police criminal profiler Jim Van Allan, who now runs Behavioural Sciences Solutions Group Inc.

"Some offenders roleplay as a behavioural tryout or rehearsal of a planned crime."

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.

One picture shows a woman using the name Lana_Caine, believed to be Bogdanovich, bloodied, bruised, bound and blindfolded beside user Sterling_Archer4, believed to be MacGregor.

“I would say the Internet goes to facilitate and enable social interaction, but it's not what makes people dangerous,” said Van Allan.

The vast majority of people involved in the bondage 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. "Sometimes, there's just a bad combination of individuals. ... There's a dynamic of ratcheting up the level of intensity of the thought and the behaviour.”

Groups that work with abused women warn that dating sites can be used by predators to lure unsuspecting women.

Michael Rafferty — who, with partner Terri Lynne McClintic, killed eight-year-old Victoria Stafford of Woodstock, Ont. — had a profile on Plenty of Fish. Bogdanovich also appears have a profile on the site.

But it's a big leap from meeting to fulfil a fetish to murder or another kind of violent crime, said Van Allan.

"Sometimes there's an evolutionary progression from fantasy to violence. It's hard to estimate which person will escalate."

kate.dubinski@sunmedia.ca


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