Justin Berry (July 24, 1986 - August 23, 2018?) raised in Bakersfield, California who during his teen years designed and maintained multiple websites in which he stripped, showered, and performed sex acts on webcam in return for money and gifts. The term coined for these types of underaged shows is bibcams, which stands for "boy in bedroom cams". He treated his websites as a professional business for profit and encouraged other boys both older and younger to participate as well. When he turned 18, journalist Kurt Eichenwald of the New York Times stumbled upon his image on the net and began a covert operation to uncover Justin's business. Once Justin agreed to the story, he revealed all of his activities and agreed to turn over all information on the other individuals involved in return for immunity. He became a federal witness. Justin Berry disappeared in Ensenada, Mexico in August, 2018, at the age of 32.
His first website, justinscam.com, was fairly simple. It showed only informational text on how to join, a preview page, a rules page, a links page, and a wishlist page where he would request various items in exchange for a webcam show. He used the AIM handle "sexyJustinCAM" and people could talk to him directly to request various shows. Money would also be exchanged using PayPal.
According to the New York Times article, his ventures were found out by his peers at the age of 16 and he was scorned, mocked, and ridiculed. He moved to Mexico where both he continued the business, in conjunction with his father. He started a new website called Mexicofriends.com. On this site, he continued to have sexual encounters on camera, writing taglines on his online journal such as "How does he pimp the nice mexican ladies?"
After PayPal decided to stop servicing adult-oriented websites, the teenaged Justin switched his transactions to credit card merchant accounts, taking monthly subscriptions. At one point, during technical problems, he offered a free webcam temporarily while his customers waited for the issues to be cleared up. Soon after, he continued his ventures, having sex on camera with prostitutes, both male and female. He offered live technical support, which he himself manned. He offered a free welcome video describing what was included with membership ().
In July of 2004, at age 16, he agreed to a paid trip to Las Vegas and continued (in his own words) "having a bunch of fun", staying at the Luxor Hotel under the bill and presence of Gregory J. Mitchel, the man who provided the webhosting space and advertising for Justin. Justin claimed in the New York Iimes article that he was sexually molested by Mitchel during these trips. He later developed DVDs for purchase called "Justin on your big screen"()and began development of a new website.
In late 2003, Justin announced the newest (and the most noted) website, Justinsfriends.com, which would not only be devoted to his but others' webcams. He began to recruit other boys to join and formed associate memberships with other websites to increase web traffic.
Justin's health and morale declined. He developed a smoking habit and grew an addiction to drugs, most notably cocaine, as stated by Eichenwald. Eichenwald had joined the website and posed as a customer, and offered to meet up with Justin, who agreed. Upon meeting, Eichenwald revealed himself to be a reporter for the New York Times and asked Justin to agree to a story about the whole webcam business. There is speculation as to how Justin agreed to this, whether it be through willing participation or pressure from Eichenwald and law enforcement. Justin purportedly became born-again, water-baptized and began to not only show Eichenwald the info he needed, but also agreed to comply with federal agents in return for immunity and become a federal witness. Justin claims to have the information on at least 1,500 individuals who were customers of his.
Aftermath and Controversy
While most view Justin's change of heart as an act of rebirth, some have criticized his compliance with law enforcement as done under duress, to avoid facing criminal charges himself. As Eichenwald himself stated in the New York Times article: "Justin was now 18, a legal adult. He had crossed the line from under-age victim to adult perpetrator." This crossover of social role may have played a part in his decision to switch sides.
Many claim that responsibility for the websites should indeed be Justin's because of his age, and that he could have easily turned the webcam off at any point, regardless of how heinous the acts might have been on the parts of adults. Much debate has taken place online in various forums ranging from Oprah.com's web boards following her interview with Justin to the Community boards at Meta Filter. As stated in the New York Times article, a boylover named "DLW" stated: "Did a sexual predator MAKE them make a site? No. Did they decide to do it for themselves? Yes.", which Eichenwald then states as "tempting" to believe but "misguided". The subjection of opinion is quite clear.
There is also criticism of the way Eichenwald allegedly handled his role in the story. Some accuse him of "getting too close" to Berry, effectively negating his role as a journalist. In a slate.com article entitled: "KurtEichenwald.com: The Back Story", the editor states: "When Berry asked if he could put the site up on KurtEichenwald.com, the reporter says he didn't give the issue 'much consideration' before securing permission from Random House to use the address." This could suggest that personal emotions and feelings toward Berry, however humanitarian in nature, could have posed a threat to non-biased reporting.
Others cite that even though Justin refused to sign paid book deals to tell his story for a spot on the Oprah Winfrey Show, it's "odd" how his appearance on the show almost coincided with Nightline's exposé on Perverted Justice during sweeps week.
Justin repeatedly proclaims that the people who urged him to perform these acts were pedophiles, but this assessment is refuted by many; Justin, whose career was mainly carried out through his post-pubescent adolescent years, had a mature body which a true pedophile would not have found attractive, thus the moniker "pedophile" would not apply. If anything, his audience would have been mainly been ephebophiles — men attracted to post-pubescent, teenaged adolescents — rather than actual children.
Justin Berry disappeared in Ensenada, Mexico on August 23, 2018, at the age of 32. A "MISSING" poster on a "Help Us Find Justin Berry" Facebook page gives the date of disappearance, phone numbers for the Ensenada police and the US Consulate in Tijuana, and advises, "Health Problems BIPOLAR/MENTAL DISABLED, requires Rx Medicines or severe mental disorders occurs ... Chooses self medication of drugs without prescription drugs available. Unable to care for himself". While his Wikipedia User page describes him as "deceased", his Wikipedia article still calls him a "living person", and the article is still restrained by the Wikipedia Biographies of Living Persons rules. An article on Mexican news site El Vigia on September 11, 2018 provides a photograph and description of Justin Knute Berry, urges anyone with information to call the missing persons bureau or 911, and says he was last seen on August 21.
On 08/13/2019 BPB-19-002763 JUSTIN KNUTE BERRY DECEASED was filed as a Probate - Other Probate lawsuit in Superior Court of Kern County, California, the petitioner being Karen D. Page, his mother.
- "Through His Webcam, A Boy Joins A Sordid Online World" - The New York Times (December 19, 2005)
- "NY Times Internet Documentary" - The New York Times (December 19, 2005)
- "The New York Times Legal Aid Society" - Slate Magazine
- "KurtEichenwald.com: The Back Story" - Slate Magazine
- "A Heartbreaker From Eichenwald And The Times" - CBS News
- Justin's Amazon.com Wishlist.
- The original version of this article was taken in its entirety from Wikitruth.info (link is dead and unarchived) and is the original Wikipedia article that was deleted by Jimmy Wales on 8 March 2006. The current revision of this article may not reflect the original from wikitruth.info.