A Cheyenne man was arrested on Monday after he attempted to solicit sex from what what he believed was an 11-year-old girl, but was actually a group of men known as “Predator Poachers,” a Cheyenne Police Department spokesman told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.
The Cheyenne Police Department said a 19-year-old man was arrested after a confrontation with the group early Monday morning. The Laramie County Detention Center said a Clayton Spencer Tanner was arrested early Monday morning.
The Predator Poachers live-streamed the discussion and subsequent arrest. However, the video has not yet been posted to YouTube.
“He willingly talked to us, no threats or anything like that,” Alex Rosen, who runs the Predator Poachers group, told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “We talked to him for about 40 minutes and then the police came and arrested him.”
One of the men involved in the group, who declined to comment on the record, provided Cowboy State Daily with more than 50 screenshots of the alleged conversation between Tanner and the supposed 11-year-old girl. The screenshots identified one of the people in the conversation as Clayton Tanner.
“We pose as minors on various social media websites and then these predators will reach out to us,” Rosen said on Thursday.
Rosen said that Tanner reached out to the Predator Poachers decoy initially and the two struck up a conversation. Rosen said during the conversation, the man said he lived in Cheyenne and that he was 19.
The “girl” told Tanner during their conversations she lived in an apartment building in east Cheyenne.
Rosen said in the course of conversations, the “girl” was sent child pornography.
In their discussion Monday, Rosen said he asked about Tanner’s actions.
“I asked him why he had this attraction to children and he said he really didn’t know,” Rosen said. “I asked him if it was because they were vulnerable and he said that was likely.”
Rosen said that Tanner told him that he had been abused by an uncle as a young child and that his father had been jailed for abusing a cousin.
In the conversations, the participant identified as Tanner allegedly asked the “girl” multiple times if, hypothetically, she would be willing to have sex with him at younger and younger ages and whether she would be sexually satisfied watching him have sex with a newborn. He also referred to her as “daughter” multiple times.
The screenshots showed the “girl” asked for videos and voice recordings of Tanner saying certain things during their conversation.
“Are u going to ask me to rape u?” Tanner wrote in one message.
“Do you want me have [sic] more girls like u?” he wrote in another.
He also asked the girl if she would be interested in seeing photos of other underage girls’ genitalia and if he could drink her blood, the screenshots showed.
“I am not cutting very hard and no arteries like the neck,” he wrote to the girl. “It’s like when you cut yourself with a pocket knife [or] with a regular knife on your finger or whatever that’s how I’m going to cut you…but all over except for the neck.”
“We’ve talked to people that go after infants, but never have I come across someone explicitly stating they want to cut up a baby,” Rosen said.
The screenshots showed Tanner additionally asking for nude photographs of the “girl,” despite the girl being identified as an 11-year-old.
Tanner also asked the girl at different points if she would let him have sex with her 4-year-old stepsister.
It was not clear how long the conversation between Tanner and the “girl” had been going on, but screenshots indicated the conversations had been going on since at least late May.
During the investigation on Monday, police said the man arrested was found to have child pornography on the phone he had with him.
The man was ultimately arrested for possession of child pornography and soliciting to engage in illicit sexual relations and booked into the Laramie County Detention Facility.
Rosen said that despite being sometimes labeled as “vigilantes,” Predator Poachers does not take the law into its own hands and its members have never attempted to arrest or detain anyone.
“Kids are being harmed by these kinds of people every day,” Rosen said. “The goal is that when you have kids who are unharmed, you have kids with happy childhoods.”