A young girl, A.J. Dunne, is murdered in a seedy motel room by an unknown man. Before the police arrive, a troubled teenage boy absconds from the scene in his car. Once the detectives get to the scene they find Scratchy, the desk clerk, who says that A.J. was expecting a visitor, but he isn't much help otherwise.
Warner tells Benson and Stabler that A.J. was sodomized, raped and strangled. Benson is sure that the girl isn't a prostitute. Warner lets the detectives know that A.J. fought against her killer because there are traces of the killer's blood in A.J.'s mouth.
Fin reveals that the photos taken at the crime scene have been released on the Internet. According to Morales, the photo that was leaked was not a police photo. The detectives compare the two photos and realize that the Internet photo was taken earlier in the day and closer to A.J.'s time of death. Morales thinks that maybe someone sold the photo to the website.
The detectives revisit the Ascot Hotel under the assumption that Scratchy sold A.J.'s photograph. Scratchy claims he sold the picture, but he didn't kill her. Stabler finds a nasty cut on his arm, which Scratchy claims is from cooking heroin. Not only did Scratchy snap A.J.'s photo, he also stole her phone.
Benson and Stabler are able to contact A.J.'s two friends, Heather and Jenna, through A.J.'s phone. The detectives meet up with the girls, who tell Benson and Stabler that A.J. said she had met an older guy to sleep with, but that she wasn't a hooker. When the detectives press the girls from more information, they discover that A.J. had accused her father of molestation.
Benson and Stabler question Terri Dunne, A.J.'s mother, and find that Terri didn't know about the allegations against her husband Greg. Terri says that Greg and A.J. had always fought but she didn't know why. The detectives learn that A.J. and her father had a huge fight before she was killed. Greg comes home with blood on his shirt and the detectives arrest him for raping and murdering A.J., his own daughter.
Stabler interrogates Greg and he denies killing A.J. He comes clean and says that A.J. was out of control and severely troubled. Benson questions Terri and she reveals that A.J. was in treatment for oppositional defiant disorder and that she and her husband finally placed A.J. into A.S.P., A Sheltered Place, run by a man named Martin Gold.
Although Terri thinks Gold is a godsend, Greg believes he is a liar. Gold was the one who convinced A.J. that her father molested her. Greg reveals that when he went to confront Gold, the therapist stabbed him with a pen and then had Greg arrested. Greg shows Stabler a flyer that was on his windshield that says, "Martin Gold is raping your daughter," and this was Greg's last straw. He thought he could make A.J. see that Gold was a liar. Greg had just gotten out of jail when he found out A.J. was murdered and he thinks that Gold is responsible for her death.
Martin Gold speaks to a group of teenagers at his shelter, A Sheltered Place, about A.J.'s death. The detectives interrupt Gold's service to talk to him about A.J.'s murder. It is obvious to the detectives that the young teenagers look up to Gold. Gold tells the detectives that he will not be pressing charges against Greg Dunne. When Stabler shows Gold the picture of him and A.J., Gold claims that it's a fake. When Stabler presses Gold for his location during the time of A.J.'s murder, he claims that he was in his office, alone. When the detectives ask to take a look at the shelter's surveillance tapes from that day, Gold rejects the detectives' request. When Stabler asks Gold why A.J. checked in under the name "A.J. Gold," Gold can't answer.
Cabot scolds Benson and Stabler for not seizing the surveillance tapes and issues a warrant for them to get them. Once the detectives get the tapes, they see that Gold wasn't lying when he said he was at his office at the time of the murder. Fin, Stabler, and Benson check out Gold's website and see just how popular his shelter is with parents of troubled teens. Gold's motto is, "We diminish the power of unwanted thought and impulses by embracing them." Stabler wonders what makes Gold stop the impulse to rape and murder one of his patients.
Stabler and Benson bring their concerns about Gold to Cragen, but Cragen thinks the proof is in the pudding. Gold has a success rate of 83%. On top of this, the Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs' daughter is a patient. Which means the detectives must tread lightly on this case.
Morales tells Benson and Stabler that the photo of A.J. and Gold has been Photo-shopped. Gold's face is transposed against someone else's body. However, under further investigation of the surveillance tapes, the detectives find that A.J. was staying over at A.S.P., against regulations. When Benson and Stabler confront the Dunnes about this, they admit that they let A.J. stay overnight at the shelter at Gold's suggestion. Greg claims that they were desperate and thought that letting A.J. stay overnight with Gold was their only choice.
Munch gets a phone call and tells Fin that someone just used A.J.'s credit card at a liquor store in Little Italy. Meanwhile Warner finds a lead on the blood found in A.J.'s mouth. Turns out it had traces of the drugs used to treat Hepatitis C. Right before Benson and Stabler go to revisit Scratchy, they hear a young boy, Enzo, in the morgue and catch him. Across town, Fin finds the other suspect at the liquor store and arrests him.
The SVU precinct holds two suspects: Enzo Cook and Ramsey Vickers. Enzo says that it was his fault that A.J. died and is itching to get out of the interrogation room. Vickers, who is equally as shaky as Enzo, demands to talk to a lawyer. Just when Cragen comes to check in on which suspect is the killer, Vickers collapses and Fin calls for a bus.
Fin and Munch learn that Vickers has suffered from toxic shock due to a severe circumferential bite to his penis. Turns out, A.J. bit Vickers in self-defense, which means that Vickers is the killer. Vickers tells his story about becoming a drug addict and confesses that he didn't mean to kill A.J. and is sincerely sorry things got carried away. Vickers claims he met A.J. over Craigslist.
Benson and Stabler investigate A.J.'s ad, in which she is looking for an older man as a father figure to have sex with. Enzo tells the detectives that Gold was treating him for his heroin addiction. During Enzo's time there, he and A.J. fell in love, but Gold prohibited the teens from dating each other. Enzo claims that he Photoshopped the picture to prove that Gold raped A.J. According to Enzo, Gold told A.J. to conquer her fears while he was raping her. Turns out, Enzo also lived at the shelter. Enzo says the day A.J. was murdered he followed her there, but he got scared and got high instead of helping her. Stabler needs Enzo to testify against Gold, and he agrees.
Huang thinks Enzo can help the case if he gets off the drugs. Huang also thinks that Gold is bogus; and that he uses troubled teens as a source of entertainment for himself. Benson and Stabler bust into Gold's therapy session and arrest him. Stabler interrogates Gold, who says the detectives shouldn't believe anything Enzo says. Gold is confident that no jury will believe Enzo because he is a con artist.
Benson and Stabler try to convince Cabot to go forward with the charges against Gold. According to Cabot, Gold is clean. Stabler says that they have Enzo to testify, but when Stabler goes to get him, he's gone. Stabler finds Enzo getting sick from withdrawing, begging for a fix. Things don't look good for the case.
Huang tells Benson and Stabler about a new medication for heroin addiction; it can cure the addiction in 24 hours, meaning Enzo would be able to testify. However, the drug is illegal. Gold is released and as Enzo's legal guardian, he takes the boy with him, despite the detectives' and Huang's disapproval. The detectives wouldn't be surprised if Gold was feeding Enzo drugs to keep him from testifying.
Huang decides to take matters into his own hands and grabs a document from one of Gold's files. He finds Enzo and kidnaps him from Gold's shelter. Benson catches Huang and tells him that he is breaking the law. Huang believes he has no choice and takes Enzo to get the illegal drug treatment to help him get over his heroin addiction. Enzo, nervous at first, takes the drug in hopes of getting better. This is Enzo's last chance at life, and the detectives' last hope to bring Gold to justice.
At A Sheltered Place, Enzo begs Gold for forgiveness for going with Huang. Gold embraces Enzo. Enzo begs for more drugs and Gold is happy to give them to him. Just then, Benson and Stabler charge in and arrest Gold for possession and distribution of narcotics, as well as being an accessory to murder. Turns out the medicine worked: Enzo will be clean enough to testify and Gold will no longer be able to prey on troubled teens. As for Huang, he turned himself in and got a 30-day suspension of his license, but to him it was well worth it.