UNION, Mo. – A Union, Missouri man has been charged with trying to lure a 12-year-old girl for sex. This happened after an organization Truckers Against Predators (TAP) posted a video online.
Joshua Mastin, 36, appeared before a judge in the Franklin County Courthouse Thursday afternoon. The judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf and ordered Mastin’s bond to remain at $50,000 cash-only.
The founder of TAP, Anthony Greene, posted the video on his website showing his confrontation with Mastin on Sunday. Greene said Mastin thought he was meeting a young girl for sex.
“I believe that people should know who their neighbors are and our videos are getting 300,000 and 400,000 hits and that’s totally invaluable and it's within our rights so we're going to do it,” Greene said.
Union Police Chief Norman Brune said he sees no problem with TAP’s actions.
The chief said his detectives will accept any information from anyone or group but he’d like his officers there when the confrontation occurs. Green said since he’s started doing this, one person has run away and others have tried to explain themselves.
Greene said TAP goes into chat rooms frequented by young people. At first, they’ll pose as a woman wanting to hang out with someone, then they tell responders they’re only 12. Most people exit, the men that stay could end up behind bars or caught on camera.
Mastin was charged with first-degree attempted statutory rape of a child under the age of 14 and attempted enticement of a child less than 15 years of age.
“The idea of someone preying upon these children is very upsetting; tragic,” Brune said.
Greene said he and his group are not vigilantes. He doesn’t try to detain the men or even touch them. He knows he could be injured or killed if things go wrong.
Greene said police sometimes accompany him and handle the confrontation. So far, he said his group has confronted 43 people. He said half of them are in the judicial system. About 25 men have been confronted in the St. Louis area.