A father in Argentina took actions into his own hands after he pretended to be his 11-year-old daughter in order to locate and pummel the man who harassed the girl via a messaging app.
Walter Rodriguez said his daughter told him a 29-year-old man named German Acosta, who she met through WhatsApp, was sending inappropriate messages and demanding to meet her, El Pais reported.
The girl also said he was trying to convince her to lie to her parents and kept asking for pictures of her in undergarments.
In one of the texts to Acosta, the pre-teen said she was a virgin, to which Acosta replied: “That’s great.”
Rodriguez took control of the text conversations and posed as his daughter to arrange a meeting with Acosta.
“First he wanted to have the date at his house and I told him yes, of course, because I was going to kill him,” Rodriguez told TV channel TB. “He would open the door and I would kill him.”
However, Acosta arranged the meeting in Buenos Aires.
When the two men met, Rodriguez pummeled Acosta and punched him in the face before police arrived. The father took photos of Acosta’s bloodied face and shared them on his social media platforms.
“This son of a b---- is a pervert. He sent photos to my 11-year-old daughter,” Rodriguez wrote in the post. He also shared photos of the text message conversations between Acosta and his daughter.
The posts have since been taken down.
The father and the suspect are both facing charges but were not detained. Rodriguez faces a battery charge while Acosta was accused of “online harassment and grooming – the crime of befriending a child to lure them to perform sexual acts.”
Rodriguez told local media he was upset Acosta was not detained for his crimes despite him showing proof of the messages.
“I made my statement before a judge. I told them everything, how it happened, I showed them the screenshots, what he had been sending to my little girl,” Rodríguez said. “I don’t understand why they let him go. A person like this doesn’t deserve to be free.”
According to Argentina law, a person accused of contacting a minor online or through phone messages could face six months to four years in prison.
Hernan Navarro, with a non-profit group Grooming Argentina that protects youth from online predators, warned Acosta could be “a potential risk to society.”
“By letting him free there is the potential risk to society because he could continue harassing these children,” Navarro said.
In 2017, the justice system in Argentina made a statement by sentencing Jonathan Luna, who was accused of murdering a 12-year-old on Facebook, to life in prison.