James DiMaggio is at large with an unrelated, kidnapped 16-year-old , after murdering her mother and (probably) her 8-year-old brother.  His ex-wife says he was obsessed with Everquest, and hung around the girl’s mother as a nonsexual friend:

DiMaggio’s former wife, who was married to him for only six months, said he didn’t show any violent tendencies during that period, but instead was a “nerdy” guy who showed a keen interest in video games, in particular, the game “Everquest.”

“I would complain about the virtual reality game he would play all night. It was ridiculous. It was consuming him. It was addictive,” the ex-wife, who wished to remain anonymous, told HLN’s Nancy Grace.

“He is not a materialistic person, and he’s very resourceful,” she said.

The suspect’s ex-wife added that she did not believe there was a romantic relationship between DiMaggio and the slain woman, describing their relationship as a “brother-sister type of deal.”

So here, we have a middle-aged man who is unsuccessful both romantically and financially. He was hanging around a family as a platonic “uncle,” where no man was present. He did them frequent favors, such as driving the attractive teenage daughter to her gymnastics practices. It should have been obvious he was after sex from someone there.

“He said he had a crush on her, but didn’t mean it in an intimate way,” 15-year-old Marissa Chavez toldThe San Diego Union-Tribune. “He said, ‘If I was your age, I’d date you.'”

The comment made the girls uneasy, Marissa added.

She said DiMaggio took Hannah to Hollywood for a week-long “Sweet 16” birthday celebration. The trip was cut short, however, because DiMaggio became upset about the amount of time Hannah spent on her cellphone.

“After that she never responded to his texts and e-mails,” Marissa told the San Diego newspaper.

It sounds as if the family made a couple of common mistakes. First, they were down on their luck financially. So, they were probably eager to accept help, and less likely to critique DiMaggio’s motives. When people are needy, predators sense it.

The second problem I call the “Beemus Illusion,” after my own former immature, older male friend who weaseled into young women’s lives by playing the nonsexual big brother role, then had tantrums and blowups when we didn’t want to have sex with him. In order to label a guy like DiMaggio appropriately, a woman has to make a socially disapproved assessment — even privately — of a friendly-acting male as a loser. Easy for me to do it from behind a keyboard. But when it mattered in my own life, I was reluctant. When I finally did, other people got mad at me. You can see the same illusion in effect with the kidnapped girl’s father — he talked about what a great guy DiMaggio was, how he “obviously just lost it.” No one wants to see the warning signs.

I like to think I wouldn’t fall for it now. When you’re a parent, you’re not supposed to take chances. In the Boy Scouts, the rule is never have fewer than two approved adults alone with a kid. That’s a common rule now for children’s activities. And normal adults don’t like to hang out alone with unrelated children. It sounds like torture to spend a week alone in Hollywood with some friend’s teenaged son or daughter.

My oldest son is old enough where I’m supposed to talk about “stranger danger” with him. This is what I’m telling him: Normal adults don’t talk to kids they don’t know unless it’s their job. And they don’t ask kids for help when they’re alone, they ask them to go get an adult. Normal adults also don’t tell kids their private business. I wish my parents had been clearer about this. For instance, when I told my normally strict dad that “My (male) English teacher is picking me up this weekend for an art show,” why where there no follow-up questions? And we thought it was so cool when he talked in class about his ex-girlfriends, even the one who committed suicide.


Category: Bedroom, Newsroom

About the Author

Sheila Tone (stone) is a West Coaster, breeder, and lawyer who has probably hooked up with some loser just like you and sees through your whole pathetic little act.

26 Responses to The non-surprise of James DiMaggio: Unattractive online gamer fixates on teenage girl, blows up tragically.

  1. trumwill says:

    That last paragraph makes me sad, in a way. The only thing I might be guilty of from it is that I might ask a kid for help or something. On the other hand, maybe I’d realize “Hey kid, I got $10 here if you do me a favor…” (would the police be called before I said “helping me move the portable dishwasher from downstairs”?

    Anyhow, I consider it a little sad that we live in such a low-trust environment that what you say makes sense. That, if I did have a misstep, it would be so problematic despite my not being that guy. Though I have little desire to socialize (for lack of a better word) with young people – the substitute teaching gig reinforced this, mostly – it’s sad that there is an informal rule to that effect.

  2. Sheila Tone says:

    Well, Will, I actually think the problem is a too-high trust environment. Decades ago these rules existed — the issues just didn’t come up very often, because social structures were different.

    Around the 60s and 70s, things loosened up. It became a lot more common for men and women to be friends, for example. People don’t want to be prudes or go back to the 1800s when young women had to be chaperoned everywhere by relatives or older women. The unfortunate side effect is that people are overly reluctant to identify inappropriate sexual motives in a situation.

    The English teacher referenced hit subtly and not-so-subtly on a number of female students. He eventually found a taker, moved in with her, and got fired. My dad moved from the rural sticks to the megalopolis partly because he wanted his children to do things like go to art shows, and he was a bit distressed that I wasn’t more socially active in high school. So you can see something like this slipping right past his radar.

    As for you, nobody finds a problem with a guy in his 30s offering a burly 16-year-old some cash to help move a TV. You probably wouldn’t ask a skinny 6-year-old, however. But it is sad that you probably should take steps to protect yourself from false accusations. They do happen. The “two-deep” rules are designed to protect adults from children as well as children from adults.

    • Linds says:

      Ahh, the whole civilization is falling apart argument.
      You’re obviously not from New Jersey. Way back when,
      there were socially “approved” ways of being a pedophile
      (the priesthood is an obvious one, but there’s others too,
      including being a teacher).

      Still are, some places [note: few places actually condone touching of strangers’ kids]… What sort of guy shows up to his friend’s daughter’s basketball game? Yeahright, he’s a “friend of the family.”

  3. Sheila Tone says:

    Linds: Agreed that pedos have always had their paths. But I don’t think being sexually attracted to a 16-year-old makes a guy a pedophile. It’s natural to find older teenagers sexually attractive – and just as natural for them to find middle-aged people sexually repulsive. That’s his failing, in refusing to accept that second point.

    When we confuse immature lechery with pedophilia, we actually make it harder to spot guys like this, because people are understandably reluctant to think something horrible and rare like pedophilia applies to their friends. But losers wanting young hot girls — that’s very common and natural.

  4. Sheila Tone says:

    Ugh, just found Facebook evidence Beemus recently worked/volunteered as a children’s clown. How much more of a classic groomer gig could there be?

  5. Peter says:

    When I first read about this case I had assumed that DiMaggio recently became friends with the mother as a ploy to spend time alone with 16-year-old Hannah. That’s not the case at all. He has been a family friend for many years, starting before Hannah was born, when he would have been just in his early 20’s.

    • Sheila Tone says:

      Right, they’d been friends with him a long time so it was hard to acknowledge he was turning into a weirdo. That was the case with Beemus, too. As the years went on, and everyone’s life was progressing but his, we kept pushing aside this unsettling feeling that something was wrong. We didn’t want to recognize the obvious evidence of sexual incompetence, repulsiveness, and desperation.

  6. Peter says:

    Update: DiMaggio was shot by the FBI in rural Idaho, and the girl was rescued.

  7. Mike Hunt Rice says:

    Another excellent post from Sheila. I wish she would post more often. Also, a reposting of old Econoholic posts would be nice.

    A few observations relating to and tangental to the situation:

    1) DiMaggio has an ex-wife, so he is doing better than most losers who have never been married.

    2) To be fair, I’m sure Hannah WAS spending too much time on her cellphone on the trip. If you accept the deal with the Devil, you should live by it.

    3) normal adults don’t like to hang out alone with unrelated children. It sounds like torture to spend a week alone in Hollywood with some friend’s teenaged son or daughter.

    100% correct. I never trust anyone over the age of 25 who coaches a youth sports team. Unless they have a relative on the team, of course, since SOMEONE has to be the coach. But that someone should be called either Dad or Uncle by one or more of the players.

    4) [Normal adults] don’t ask kids for help when they’re alone, they ask them to go get an adult.

    95% correct. I would make some common-sense exceptions, like if you are unfamiliar with the area and need quick directions, e.g. how far up the road is McDonalds, NOT can you get in my van and help me find my puppy.

    As for Trumwill’s comment, I wouldn’t ask a random child for help with anything. I would ask one of his parents first.

    5) DiMaggio’s comments about having a crush and wanted to date her if he was a teenager are creepy only because DiMaggio said them. If Tom Brady said them, the girl would love it. Therefore, I am hesistant to call a behavior creepy unless there isn’t a double standard. After all, it wasn’t DiMaggio’s fault that others found him creepy.

    • trumwill says:

      Unfortunately, I think Holic’s archives are gone. The stuff on the one before that isn’t, but is a real pain to resuscitate. Both for Holic and for us. I’m just glad Burt and I got him blogging again, even if the past is mostly lost.

    • Sheila Tone says:

      Of course it was his fault he was creepy Mike. Who else’s fault would it be? Men who persist with sexual advances despite a woman’s repulsion are creepy. DiMaggio was a textbook creep.

      Some men are desirable, some aren’t. That’s not a double standard. I hope you aren’t suggesting every man has an equal right to sex with young attractive women.

      If young women had found DiMaggio attractive, he wouldn’t have had to have sulks, tantrums, buy her friends weed, and kill Hannah’s family and kidnap her. He refused to live with the obvious — that by society’s laws of attractiveness, as well as Hannah’s own, he was sexually repulsive.

      • Mike Hunt Rice says:

        Who else’s fault would it be?

        God. Society. The Andersons.

        Some men are desirable, some aren’t. That’s not a double standard.

        That might be the definition of a double standard. Actually, to be precise, desirabilty and the lack thereof isn’t, but the way the two groups are treated is exactly a double standard. Just a socially acceptable one.

        Men who persist with sexual advances despite a woman’s repulsion are creepy.

        Yes, but it would help if said woman and/or her family told him to buzz off. They kept accepting his favors. They totally led him on. Not that they deserved what ended up happening to them, but it could have all been avoided if it had been nipped in the bud.

        Hey, Peter, if you are reading this, jump in. Hey, I just noticed that Peter’s blog is no longer on the blogroll. Was that an accident, or was he disappeared?

        • Sheila Tone says:

          Mike, it looks like they *did* tell him to buzz off, politely. She’d stopped accepting his texts and calls and going over there. He tricked the family into coming over one last time, because he was supposedly losing his house and moving to Texas. That’s the problem — when you rebuff the advances of a guy like that, that’s when he really explodes. The women aren’t necessarily stringing him along — they want to avoid the explosion.

  8. trumwill says:

    Heh…

    how far up the road is McDonalds, NOT can you get in my van and help me find my puppy.

    I didn’t ask anyone to get in my van, of course, but I did ask a couple girls (around middle school, maybe early high school) if they’d seen a white fluffy dog wandering about.

    Which I’m glad I did! Because it was one of them that identified Lisby.

    If Tom Brady said them, the girl would love it. Therefore, I am hesistant to call a behavior creepy unless there isn’t a double standard.

    Men like Tom Brady usually don’t go around doing that sort of thing, though, which is part of the point*. On the other hand, a guy in his twenties might. Which actually brings up the question… what is the cutoff, exactly? Not the cutoff at which the girl would date the guy, but the conversion from flattered to creeped out.

    * – Which brings up another question… why doesn’t this carry over to female teachers who sleep with students?

    • Mike Hunt Rice says:

      LOL Well asking the girls a quick question like that is OK. Anything more would have been dicey.

      Now be honest, how did they look?

      why doesn’t this carry over to female teachers who sleep with students?

      Probably because a large proportion of the population doesn’t think of the students as victims in this case.

  9. Kirk says:

    “Men like Tom Brady usually don’t go around doing that sort of thing, though, which is part of the point*”

    O.J.? Hernandez? Hell, how about Ben Roethlisberger?

    As for losers, Michael Skakel and Charles Whitman were both married. Therefore they were not losers.

    Ted Bundy was attractive enough to have multiple girlfriends over the years. Therefore, he was not a loser.

    Young Babe #1: attends Comic-Con.

    Young Babe #2: attends a frat party.

    Which one has more to worry about?

  10. Janna.W says:

    he is sick..this is freaky

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