MERCER COUNTY, Pa. (WKBN) – Police say a local man is in jail facing 18 new charges after he was caught trying to meet up with who he thought was an underage child — again.
His arrest was captured on Facebook Live by a group that works undercover to catch sexual predators.
Bikers Against Predators is a non-profit organization that was started in 2021. The group of roughly a dozen volunteers works to catch predators all over the country.
“We put decoy accounts on different social media sites and individuals message us. We then tell them how old we are and we let them lead these conversations to where they want them to go,” said the president of the organization. He asked that we don’t use his real name for safety reasons, but he goes by the name “Boots.”
Boots said he started the organization after a relative was targeted by a predator online. He says since its launch in 2021, the organization has caught 220 predators.
Recently, the organization contributed to the catch and arrest of a Mercer County man.
Bryan Stutzman, 55, was confronted by Boots and his team on May 28, after he began communicating with one of their decoy accounts.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Elijah Julian was assigned to the case and says it was later found that he was also communicating with three other decoy accounts from other similar organizations. In all four cases, he thought he was talking with kids ages 11, 12, 13 and 15.
When Stutzman was confronted by Boots, he admitted to communicating with who he thought was a 12-year-old girl and planning sexual engagement with her.
Boots said they are very careful how they handle their stings. They do not pursue possible predators, but instead, let them make the first contact and direct the conversation.
“We never message first. That’s our number-one rule is we do not reach out to anybody; we let them come to us. And we sometimes catch some crazy people, registered sex offenders, teachers, firefighters, things like that,” Boots said.
Stutzman was already awaiting a court date for an arrest that happened in February of 2022. In that case, undercover investigators say he tried to solicit a 14-year-old girl for sex.
Julian said the Bikers Against Predators were very helpful and did a very good job of getting them the information they needed to make an arrest.
In this most recent case, Stutzman has acquired 18 new charges in two separate criminal complaints. His charges include five counts of unlawful contact with a minor, rape of a child, two counts of statutory sexual assault, involved deviated sexual intercourse with a child, two counts of photograph/film/depiction computer sex act, two counts of criminal use of communication facility, two counts of corruption of minors, indecent assault person less than 13 years old, IDSI person less than 16 years old.
Stutzman was given a $100,000 bond in each criminal complaint, totaling $200,000. He has a preliminary hearing set for June 21.