FREMONT, Ohio — After a viral video spread on social media showing a group known as “Dads Against Predators” in Fremont led to the arrest of a man who was allegedly attempting to meet children for sex, authorities in Sandusky County are asking the group to stop their crusade.
The group lures alleged child predators to meet with them using social apps, only to catch them on video and upload it to YouTube.
“Area law enforcement do not condone citizens taking matters into their own hands or being vigilantes. We believe it can jeopardize the safety of those conducting these activities, people directly involved or that of an innocent bystander,” Fremont Police Chief Dean Bliss said in a statement.
The latest video led to the arrest of Rafael Valadez-Loera, 39, who agreed over social media to meet a 14-year-old boy at Walmart after sexually explicit messages were exchanged, according to police.
Valadez-Loera was taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol for violating his immigration status.
However, Bliss, acting Sandusky County Prosecutor Zachary Selvey, and Sandusky County Sheriff Christopher Hilton agreed that these videos may not hold up in court as evidence.
“There are not and should not be one day events,” Bliss said. “I believe me I want these people to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, I want the investigations to be done correctly and to be prosecutable if the case would go to a trial. I assure you, everybody in this room will do something about this problem,” Bliss continued.
Bliss said he has spoken with Jon Detwiler, superintendent of Fremont City Schools, and Anthony Fontana, superintendent of Bishop Hoffman Catholic Schools, about providing additional education in schools about internet safety, as well as programs which would educate children on how to remain safe while out in public.