A Predator Among Us

Momservation: Never doubt a mother’s intuition. She knows danger never takes a holiday.

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protecting your family from sexual predators

Something about the guy always bothered me. Couldn’t put my finger on it, but my mother’s intuition told me to keep him in my crosshairs.

Yesterday I pulled the trigger.

I reported him as a sexual predator.

If that alone wasn’t frightening enough, it chilled me even more that I almost overlooked him because I wanted to be nice. Plus, I trusted that someone who worked around children would’ve already been carefully screened.

He has been umpiring in my son’s baseball league for the last two years (that I can remember) but it wasn’t until two weeks ago that I suddenly realized with sinking suspicion that what I thought was socially awkward behavior was actually a young man using his camera phone to photograph little girls.

I was hesitant to believe what I saw because I worried about the ramifications of a false accusation about something so serious. He was a young man from the community and it seems we, as parents here, are always worried about making waves.

But when it comes to my children, all bets on propriety are off.

I trusted my gut and I was now watching him closely.

Sure enough, when I saw him yesterday as an off-duty league official at a field packed with families for the Tournament of Champions my suspicions were confirmed. I witnessed him again fake a phone call and take a picture of two little girls. When he tried to do it again and I turned toward him, he quickly jumped on the phone feigning a conversation.

Panicked, I went over to my husband and girlfriend to tell them my suspicions. As I was explaining what I believed was going on, the young man wandered near another group of little girls, hovering too close holding his phone out as if looking for reception.

Seeing this they too had a new interpretation of what this guy must have been doing all season when we thought he was just a big phone talker.

Since he was an employee of the league, we immediately found the board president and reported him.

While everyone was walking around, debating if this could be true and if they wanted to believe this, a small group of us now watching the unsuspecting guy like hawk, witnessed him pull out his phone, pull up the picture taking screen and aim it at a girl near him.

My husband sprung into action.

He charged at the guy standing in the officiating box, banged on the wall separating them and yelled, “Hey, what are you doing?” Then growled at him, “You can’t do that.”

Good thing the guy was inside a chain-link box.

He stammered lame excuses like trying to get “bars” for reception and that he was just texting, but there were four of us standing there who clearly saw his picture screen up. He claimed his camera phone didn’t work.

Once my husband walked away to find the appropriate authorities, the guy slipped the phone in his pocket and quickly left the field.

The sheriff was called.

I still don’t know how this was resolved, but I tell you, if he hasn’t been detained or questioned by authorities and I see him again I will make a citizen’s arrest myself. I will not let him victimize another child for his sick tendencies on my watch.

I’m just glad I trusted my gut and had the courage to call out a predator among us. Danger may never take a holiday, but neither does this mom.

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY

2 comments

  1. Hillary says:

    Good for you Kelli! It is way too easy for people to look the other way and ignore their intuition. Thank you for being so vigilant.

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Thanks Hillary! It’s been quite an unnerving experience, but definitely feel better that we were able to nail this guy.

      The president of the league filed a police report and alerted other leagues in our district. So now there is at least a paper trail on this guy if he tries to work around kids again.

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