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Man charged with sex offences after citizen lead Grindr sting

Police in New Jersey, USA have charged a man with attempting to lure a 15-year old teenager to a rendezvous after conversing on the gay dating app Grindr.

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Website NJ.com reports that fifty six year old John A Deangelis was charged by police after a video of him attempting to meet the teen was circulated on social media. The man behind the video is a self-proclaimed “predator hunter” who poses as an underage teen online and then videos people he attracts to meet-ups.

Deangelis thought he was talking to a 15 year old boy but in reality he was conversing with Robert Davis, a local man who hunts down pedophiles online.

When he arrived at the location he’d agreed to meet the boy Davis challenged him on camera.

“I just want to know why you’re doing this, why you’re meeting young kids on the internet?” Davis asks Deangelis in the video.

“I wanted to meet someone who was young and energetic,” he replies.

Davis later posted the video to social media – which lead to the police investigation and the arrest.

Deangelis has a previous conviction for aggravated sexual assault and is on the state’s sex offender register. If convicted of the charge of luring, he will face to five to ten years in prison.

Davis is not alone in the New York region in his actions of targeting men he suspects might be breaking the law. Earlier this month New York TV station PIX11 highlighted a vigilante group in Queens, New York who spend their time trying to track down would-be offenders.

Queens resident Tony Blas told the TV station he works with a group of friends to expose potential sex offenders.

We go on certain different dating sites and we post ads that we’re 23, 24 years old and we wait for a response,” Blas said. “Once we get a response back, our next response to them is, ‘Really I’m not 24, I’m actually either 13, 14 or 15.'”

Blas said his team of friends do not initiate sexual conversations but wait until those they are conversing with request a picture from them. They then pass recordings of the conversations on to local police.

Policing experts have criticised the practice saying this is a task for police to undertake not vigilante groups, arguing that such actions may put those carrying them out in danger and the evidence they gather may not be suitable for prosecutions.

Last week Nine News reported that a group of Perth teenagers who have been charged over the alleged assault and robbery of three men in Perth’s northern suburbs were also believed to be part of an elaborate scheme to dish out vigilante style justice.

Nine reports that that as many as ten students, all believed to be from the same school, allegedly created profiles of the gay dating app Grindr to target, rob and assault older men.

Detectives have charged four youths as a result of their investigation into three robbery incidents in Scarborough that occurred on Friday 20 July and Saturday 21 July 2018.

A 15-year-old Karrinyup girl and a Doubleview boy, 16, have been charged with aggravated robbery, while a 17-year-old boy from Doubleview and a 16-year-old Woodlands boy have been charged with aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault with intent to rob.

The four youths will face Perth’s Children’s Court next month.

In December last year 20 year-old James Joseph Katchan was sentenced to six years in jail for his role in the violent assault of five men in the Thornlie area. While 19 year-old Cody Parkinson was sentenced to two years imprisonment for his role in one of the assaults.

During the trial Katchan’s lawyer claimed that he had not intended to assault the men but confront them over his belief they were attempting to have a sexual encounter with someone who was underage.

District Court judge Vicki Stewart said there was no justification for Katchan’s crime. “The implication you were acting as a vigilante … does nothing to mitigate the circumstances,” she said following the guilty verdict.

OIP Staff


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