Listen Live

INDIANAPOLIS–The Facebook groups in Indiana that are working to try and catch child predators may be defeating their own purpose. Capt. Ron Galaviz, chief of Public Information with Indiana State Police, tells our news gathering partners at WISH-TV, there are many reasons police cannot support the effort.

“We, as an agency, we don’t support what it is that they are doing. We don’t endorse what it is they are doing,” he said.

The “predator-catcher” groups, or members of the groups, pretend to be teenage girls to lure child predators and confront them, sometimes broadcasting the confrontation live. An inherent danger with that is that they are confronting a person who may have criminal intent.

“When you confront somebody with the information they already have, you have no idea how they are going to react, what they may have in their car. It’s a very big risk,” said Galaviz.

A couple of the people one of the groups has lured recently are a Portland, Ind., police officer and a Lebanon High School band teacher. Neither one of them have been charged, and Galaviz said that an amateur investigation can mess up a real prosecution.

“There are rules of law that are set by precedent, by state law, past court proceedings, that dictate how criminal investigations are conducted.”

Police officers, especially those who go after predators as part of their job, are specially trained and are following those procedures, with a mind to catch predators for a successful prosecution.

“Trying to go back and unwind and rework ourselves through what’s already been done is a very significant task and again, is a detriment to whatever investigation that we may be undertaking from that point forward,” said Galaviz.

Galaviz said the best thing you can do if you have information about a potential child predator is to tell the police.