Elmira Public Figure Snarled in Predator Hunter Sting Caught on Camera
VESTAL, NY (WENY) -- WENY News is looking into a video that allegedly shows a public figure, who was employed by a different media outlet in Elmira, accused of sending sexually suggestive text messages with whom he believed to be a 15-year-old boy.
WENY has spent the past several days working to gather information, and verify some information before reporting on this incident. Because no criminal charges have been filed, we will not identify the subject involved. The video, posted to YouTube on Friday, shows a confrontation that begins inside sporting goods store in Vestal, before moving outdoors. Several men are seen confronting the subject about why he was sending sexual text messages to a young boy. No actual child was not involved in the exchange, but rather a group who call themselves the 607 Predator Hunters, who say their goal is to "protect the community from predators trying to meet children."
Text messages provided to WENY from the group show the "decoy" telling the person that he is almost 16 years old. Deeper into the exchange, which occurred on more than one platform, the messages become sexually explicit, and the pair eventually arrange a meetup in Vestal, New York.
During the confrontation caught on video, the subject denies knowing that the person they were chatting with was 15, then alleges that he was only planning to talk to the teen about the dangers of these types of apps, and later said he knew it was the 607 Predator Hunter group and he wanted to do a news story. At one point, he even asked the group if they wanted money. The confrontation ends with him getting in his car and driving away.
WENY News has contacted with multiple police agencies in the area, who tell us no complaint regarding the incident has been filed. Law enforcement tells us because the group conducting these types of stings are civilians, and they are not working with police, the material is legally inadmissible.
Monday afternoon, the person's employer, WETM-TV, posted the following statement to its Facebook page:
"Friday evening, WETM was made aware of a video posted to YouTube regarding one of our employees. The local group that posted the video claimed that the employee engaged in inappropriate behavior. WETM management investigated the questions raised by the video, and the employee is no longer employed by WETM."