Jailbait

How does a 65-year-old behavioral biologist explain being exposed as an Internet masher hot for 15-year-old girls?

It was Welles who contacted New Times (and not the other way around), hoping that this newspaper would write about what really has him steamed after his four-year ordeal: that his original attorney couldn't keep his mouth shut.

After Welles' arrest, a Palm Beach Post reporter called his attorney, William Wallshein, asking if the Jim Welles picked up by police was the same Jim Welles who had written the books on stupidity. After confirming this fact with Welles himself — who swears that he urged Wallshein to keep quiet about it — Wallshein, Welles says, confirmed his identity for the reporter.

An avalanche of media attention ensued. Welles is still hopping mad, and he complained about Wallshein to the Florida Bar Association ethics committee. But the bar concluded that Welles' claims were not substantiated enough to warrant action.

"When there's no support either way, unfortunately it becomes a he-said, she-said situation," says Adria Quintela, who oversees these complaints in the bar's Fort Lauderdale office. "We can't choose sides and say, yes, we're going to believe you, lawyer, or you, complainant."

If Welles were writing his own story, he would write that his lawyer's gaffe was unforgivable and that the conduct of police in his arrest was unconscionable.

But when he was initially asked how he manages to go on (meaning go on with his life after all the publicity), Welles must have thought New Times was inquiring about his love life.

He's more cautious in his chatroom behavior now, he said. He doesn't need to "go after" the 17-year-olds anymore.

But was he still chatting with underaged girls? Yes, he said.

"But I'm very careful."


When he's not writing letters urging the bar to take action against his former attorney, Welles spends days in his condo, alone, with his books, his piano, and his miraculous view of the ocean, and he puts the world right in that screenplay of his, which is still going through revisions. In turning the situation over in his head, he still tinkers with the script.

In the script, at least, everyone gets what's coming to him. The cops' malice backfires. The TV reporter learns to loathe the lurid sensationalism of crime coverage. And even after the protagonist, Foster, is absolved of his crime, an upstairs neighbor visits his condo, screams "Pervert!," and shoots him in the chest with a .38, leaving him to bleed to death on the foyer tile.

Presumably, Foster finally attains what, for the potential child predator, is unattainable: peace of mind.

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