HOUSTON – A Houston-area man is on a mission to find child predators and publicly shame them, and while plenty of people admire his efforts, some are concerned about his methods.
The man, who didn't want his identity revealed and calls himself Lucien, runs a Facebook group called "Motor City Justice." His goal is to ensnare, broadcast and shame child predators.
Lucien spends weeks cultivating his relationships, starting with fake profiles on sites including Facebook, Meet Me, Whisper and Plenty of Fish. Eventually, the conversations move to texting and the targets are always sexually inappropriate, often send erotic pictures and sometimes even call.
Lucien has volunteers, or decoys, but he always does the meetings himself, and he posts them on social media for the world to see.
Parents are mostly supportive of what Lucien's team does, but it's dangerous, and out of 50 encounters, not one has led to a criminal conviction.
"Since police consider what we do, you know, risky and third-party evidence, it's a gray area for most prosecutors," Lucien said
Shanna Redwine, with the Montgomery County Crimes Against Children Task Force, said this kind of work is for law enforcement only.
"Because these are high impact, high stress situations, I'm very concerned about both the team at Motor City Justice and the civilians who are in these areas where they are meeting," Redwine said.
A safer alternative
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children operates an online and telephone tip reporting component.
Tips deemed credible are forwarded to the appropriate agency. Both the Harris County and Montgomery County Internet Crimes Against Children task forces recommend the public use this system to report suspicious activity related to child predators.
To report a tip anytime, go to report.cybertip.org or call 800-843-5678.