Attorney General Josh Kaul urges “vigilante groups” to stop running child predator stings
LA CROSSE, Wis. — Videos are being posted online by Wisconsin-based groups trying to catch who they believe to be child predators on film.
The groups pose as a child in sexual conversations online, and then confront the people they talked with. They then forward that information to the police.
“We don’t know what they’ve done.”
Investigator Crystal Lewis of Holmen Police says that they can never know the full story with chat logs and video.
“We know what they turned over to us, but we don’t know what happened prior to that. We don’t know what was said to do or make the bad guy do what he did.”
“There’s a lot of training officers go through to make sure their cases are legally sound and will go through in court, private citizens don’t have that training,” said District Attorney Tim Gruenke.
He argues without the training, videos and chat logs cannot be taken as evidence.
“The defense or a suspect can say ‘I was just kidding, I was just joking around with them. I was trying to capture them.’ It becomes pretty messy when they don’t know how to do it the right way.”
There are ways to help the police find child predators, but they say it’s best to be done by the professionals.
“We do it in a way where our cases get convictions,” said Investigator Lewis.
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