LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A Lafayette man is in jail after police said he tried to meet up with a 14-year-old, who was actually a predator-catching group.
Louisiana Dads Against Predators said a man they were talking to on social media made plans to meet the fictional teenager at Girard Park. The group then notified Lafayette Police.
Deshawn Collins, 26, of Kaplan was met by police upon arrival then was arrested. LDAP had been posing as a 14-year-old boy, and they communicated with Collins for five days.
In alleged messages between Collins and the teen the group was posing as, Collins messaged “I dont want to feel like I’m pushing it on you. Nobody here. Hope it dont take you long. I’m over here watching for cops.”
LDAP then wrote to Collins, “Your present made it.”
Joseph Black, a member of the group, provided evidence to Lafayette Police of Collins committing the alleged crime.
“I brought the evidence that I had to the officers who happened to be there,” Black said. “I told them what I had and they brought me into the interview room. I laid everything out. Pictures of interest. Messages that should not have been sent. Questions that should not have been asked. We all sat in the room got a good idea of where he was gonna be at the park where they could drop me here.They got him on the ground. They got him in custody, and then we all went back to the station for statements.”
Black urges parents to learn more about how they can stop predators from engaging with children and says to be aware of who their children might be talking to online.
“As a parent you have to educate yourself and once you’re educated, you can educate your children,” Black said. “At that point the problem stops, at least with the online. Protect your children. Watch after them. But the internet is vast and it’s very dark, and they will find so many vulnerable spots and if your child’s on there, they don’t know any better.”
To all of the kids who believe they have been approached by a predator, Black wants you to speak up on what is happening, and said you will be loved by your parents no matter what.
“To the children that this has possibly happened to, or it’s already happening to, don’t be afraid to talk to your parents,” Black said. “You’re not in trouble. You don’t know any better. Talk to us. We’re always here to help you. We love you. You didn’t do anything wrong. That side of the world you know nothing about. This person’s taken advantage of you, and you will not be in trouble.You just need to speak.Talk to us. We’ll take care of it.”
Black welcomes anyone who would like to help fight this cause and said he does not plan on slowing down LDAP anytime soon.
“It’s a hard thing not to be a part of, cause it’s like either you’re with it or you’re against it,” Black said. “And everyone’s welcome. As of now it’s just me and I plan on keep doing what I’m doing. Hopefully there are more people.”
According to statistics, 85 % of online predators are hands-on abusers of children. If you are experiencing this, do not be afraid to speak up.