Controversy surrounds civilian group of predator hunters after latest confrontation

CINCINNATI (WXIX) — A group of self-proclaimed Indiana residents sexual predator hunters recently lured a Cincinnati man into a civilian sting operation, according to the group’s founder.

Chris Abercrombie leads the Facebook group Expose Indiana Child Predators. He says that on September 3, the 40-year-old Cincinnati man drove more than 100 miles to New Albany, Indiana, under the guise of picking up a 14-year-old girl for sex.

Video footage shows members of the group meet the man.

The man is not facing criminal charges and will not be named in this story.

The group has been active for two years. Members create fake profiles and go to chat rooms posing as minors to solicit potential predators. That is, according to Abercrombie, what happened here.

“It’s crazy, because the lure was only on the teen site for, I think, five or 10 minutes and two guys hit her, and one of them immediately started sending her nude photos,” Abercrombie said.

New Albany police arrived during the group’s confrontation with the man. Officers questioned him and released him.

Prosecutors say the so-called evidence these groups compile is often unusable in court. For example, in Ohio, messages exchanged between suspected suspects and people online are only admissible if the person is an actual child or a law enforcement officer posing as a child.

Dave Frattare is the lead investigator for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

“They are judges and jurors on the street here,” Frattare said. “We want these groups to just stop what they’re doing. We wouldn’t treat our offenders like that. We wouldn’t, you know, harass them. We wouldn’t threaten them.

He says first and foremost that the clashes are a public safety concern. What if one of the defendants pulls out a gun?

“Yeah, I mean the environment they’re creating here, I mean, they’re putting the public at risk. They put the public in danger. They put other bystanders in danger,” he said.

We have contacted New Albany Police and Cincinnati Police about the man in the video above. We have not heard back at the time of this writing.

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