Lead Investigator for the Altoona Pred Hunters Paul Diveglia said Blair County District Attorney Peter Weeks “does not want to prosecute” child predators uncovered by the group.
Weeks said the evidence child predator hunter groups provide are not enough to make an arrest.
“For us these groups are the same as a regular citizen calling 911 or calling the police and making a complaint of a crime,” Weeks said. “We take it very seriously. It’s our hope and expectation that when that happens that law enforcement responds and investigates.”
Diveglia said the group messages and meets-up with potential predators, pretending to be a child. The District Attorney’s office said the problem is the Pred Hunters are not law enforcement.
“The law specifically defines one of two people, Either a child who’s under the age of 18 or a law enforcement officer pretending to be a child under the age of 18.”
Weeks said he wants law enforcement involved as soon a possible in these cases.
“When we get information that people are targeting children, we want to investigate them before a child is victimized, We need the support of county commissioners and certainly others to give us the resources that we need to investigate these crimes proactively. I think that is the ultimate goal that we have.”
Weeks said despite not making arrests based on their evidence, Pred Hunters are sometimes useful.
“I will certainly say that it has raised our awareness as to how big of a problem this is throughout the country, within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and here in Blair County,”
Altoona Pred Hunters said right now they are not changing their approach.