To close out the year, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite Daily J podcast episodes of 2022. This story provides an inside look at the fathers who are working independently to catch sexual predators who prey on children in Metro Detroit, and how local law enforcement feel about their efforts.
BLOOMFIELD TWP. (WWJ) – Dads are taking matters into their own hands to catch sexual predators who prey on children in Metro Detroit and across the nation.
Dads Against Predators, or D.A.P, was founded by two fathers who, deciding that the law wasn’t doing enough, took it upon themselves to identify adults who are grooming, meeting up with and assaulting underage kids — ultimately unmasking these predators on YouTube.
“This has been happening since the dawn of man,” Joshua Mundy, a 28-year-old father of three, told WWJ Newsradio 950. “I think we’re just in its infancy of taking it seriously.”
Mundy and his friend, 27-year-old Jay Carnicorn, also a dad, came up with this plan after Mundy’s 4-year-old relative was molested.
When the perpetrator was ordered only to register privately with the court as a sex offender, Mundy took it into his own hands to expose him to the public.
After that, Mundy asked himself: “How many more people are out here, who are protected; nasty people that we just can’t see?”
Initially, their goal back in early 2020 was to expose local child predators in their small town of Fremont, Ohio, with a population of 16,000.
When they first started out, D.A.P hoped to get around 1,000 views on YouTube. But after uploading their first three videos, Mundy said they had about 100,000 views in the first day.
“In your brain, this is rewarding you, so we’re like, ‘Okay, let’s get some more,” said Mundy.
To actually catch the predators, D.A.P starts by creating a fake profile of an underage girl or boy on dating and social media apps. D.A.P doesn’t write first. Legally they could, Mundy said, but it just feels cleaner to wait for the adult to write first. Within the first five messages is when the decoy announces their age; usually 14-years-old.
From then on, whatever happens, happens. It’s basically up to the adult at that point on where the conversation goes, Mundy said.
When the adult sets up a meeting with the decoy, D.A.P steers them to a public place; usually a grocery store or a gas station. That’s when Mundy and Carnicorn press record and confront the suspected predator, with D.A.P’s main goal being to simply get them on camera.
“Whatever happens afterwards is just icing on the cake.”
And it’s a bonus, Mundy said, if the predator admits to talking with a minor and attempting to meet a child.
“Most of the time when you confront people with the evidence that we have, they usually admit it.”
After the “catch” is completed and they film the predator driving off, D.A.P contacts local police, sending the chat logs, video and other evidence to detectives.
Although there isn’t time to stick and around and see it through, Mundy said, as he’s already on to another catch.
Once he puts the video up on YouTube, it’s up to the community and police to do their jobs, he said.
“I feel like my resources are better used for going after the next guy.”
And even though Mundy and Carnicorn don’t live in Metro Detroit, they do a lot of catches in the region.
From Downriver to Oakland County, the duo have made the drive across the Ohio border to catch predators in Detroit, Lincoln Park, Bloomfield Township and Auburn Hills.
“More than anywhere in the country, Detroit has been the most supportive,” Mundy said.
While most vigilante predator catching groups tend to arise from an absence of police activity, Mundy said he’s been in contact with numerous police departments across Michigan.
One example is the Bloomfield Township Police Department, after one of D.A.P’s catches there ended in an arrest.
In that case, a man was chatting with who he thought was a 14-year-old girl and planned to meet up with her at the Target on Telegraph Road in Bloomfield. The predator told the decoy to wear a pink bikini under her clothes with hopes to take her out to dinner afterwards.
The Bloomfield police arrested the man as there was enough evidence in D.A.P’s chat logs which provided probable cause that he was there to meet with a minor.
According to officials, the case is currently in the hands of the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office with impending charges.
While Mundy said police may be doing their best with what they have, he’d like to see more resources allocated to officers patrolling the internet like he and Carnicorn do.
“I think we spend more money on the war on drugs, instead of the war on children,” said Mundy.
For example, if nothing sexual is said in the chat logs, law enforcement can’t take action against adults seeking to meet minors, said Mundy. So, a 50-year-old man could find your child on Facebook and take her to Chick-fil-A — and it’s 100% legal.
“The police can’t do anything about that, but I could stop that interaction from happening,” he said.
When he first started on this mission, Mundy said things got “pretty heavy” and he considered giving up the fight. But now he said he’s not even surprised by what he encounters, including the “nasty stuff.”
He credits this to the mastery of “flipping the switch” between being a predator catcher and being a dad.
Mundy characterized D.A.P’s fight against child predators as a “bigger than evil war,” and a long-term job; something he always sees himself doing.
And there’s plenty more work to be done.
“Obviously, I don’t want to do this when I’m like 60 years old, but I feel like I’m going to be a part of this war for the rest of my life.”
WWJ reached out to Bloomfield Township Detective Paul Schwab who said while he’s worked with D.A.P., he’s not a “big fan” of these vigilante groups.
Schwab said, as a general rule, he cannot support people who take the law into their own hands.