An Argentinian father who believed a pedophile was grooming his 11-year daughter says he lured the man to a party so he could beat him up before sharing photos of him online.
Walter Rodriguez, who is a self-proclaimed pedophile hunter, claims he pretended to be his daughter during online chats with the man after she confided in him that she had been having inappropriate text conversations with the man.
That man is 29-year-old Germán Acosta. He was apparently fooled when Rodriguez took his daughter’s phone and continued the conversation with Acosta as if he was his daughter. Rodriguez agreed to meet Acosta. They agreed to meet on a Buenos Aires street.
Upon meeting Acosta, Rodriguez immediately started pummeling the alleged pedophile, and then posted pictures of the bloodied man on Facebook.
“This son of a b—h was sending messages to my 11-Year-old daughter. He sent her explicit pictures and wanted to meet with her,” Rodriguez wrote when he posted the photos. He also posted the man’s phone number and full name for all to see, adding that Acosta deserves to be killed.
Both men were taken into custody and are due to appear in court. Rodriguez is charged with assault. Acosta is charged with online grooming, which carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison in Argentina.
Rodriguez also shared on social media some of the text messages Acosta sent to his daughter before he gained control of the conversation.
“I am a virgin,” Rodriguez’s daughter texted, to which Acosta replied: “That’s good.” In another, Acosta sent her a picture of his penis.
Rodriguez, however, made his daughter’s identity known by taking her texts to social media. According to IBTimes, it is not clear if there is a law against identifying victims of sex crimes in Argentina – as there is in the United States and the United Kingdom and most developed nations.
The so-called practice of pedophile hunting is reportedly an increasingly form of vigilantism. Most common is adults posing as children online to entrap would-be sex offenders.
Two founders of the group Dark Justice told IBTimes they were motivated by incidents of child snatching in their local town, and because police cuts meant they didn’t have the resources needed to dedicate to the problem of child grooming.
“When people message us, within the first three minutes we will always say: ‘I’m 14 years of age, I’m just on here to make friends,” one of the founders said. “Then they start talking back and nine times out of 10 they start getting very sexual.”