A California father reportedly learned his teenage daughter was being sexted by an older man and took matters into his own hands by confronting the suspect, capturing it on video and making a citizen’s arrest.
Todd Thomas of Clovis, Calif., said he found out his 14-year-old daughter was being sent sexually explicit text messages after finding her sleeping in March 2017 with a cell phone that he did not buy her.
"She was laying there with her head on her arm and a cell phone in her hand and I don't let her have a cell phone," Thomas told ABC 30.
Thomas said he took his daughter’s phone away from her but the teen just got a new mobile device.
"These phones, especially to a 14-year-old girl, it's like heroin," Thomas told KMPH.
Thomas said he and his wife investigated where the phone came from and allegedly discovered Hugo Rabson, 42, gave the teen the mobile device. The father said his daughter met Rabson through Whisper, an app, where she asked people for a cellphone.
In the messages, Rabson asked the teenager to call him “Master” and “Sugar Daddy,” according to court documents. Rabson also asked the girl to send him pictures and videos of herself. He then started sending her messages saying what he wanted to do to her.
“It was real disturbing,” Thomas said of the messages. “I freaked out when I read it."
He added: "He's [Rabson] a demon. A monster."
Thomas said he wanted to beat Rabson up at first but instead devised a plan where he would pose as his teenage daughter in order to meet face-to-face.
"I wanted him gone, off the face of the earth," he said. "I couldn't believe he'd done this to my baby."
Thomas told Rabson through his daughter’s phone to meet him at the park where the suspect gave the teenager the mobile device.
"The guy was sitting alone at this table, facing the dirt road," Thomas said.
Thomas brought his friend to capture the confrontation on video. The video showed Rabson standing near a bench as a voice said, “Let the whole world see you.”
“As a father, I had to tell him that I know who you are. I know what you did. And I had to see the monster myself,” Thomas said. “He tried to leave. I football blocked him. I told him he couldn’t go anywhere and this was a citizen’s arrest.”
Officers from the Clovis Police Department and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office showed up moments later. However, officers found Rabson had reset his phone and any messages were deleted. But the teenager’s phone still had the messages. Rabson was arrested by deputies.
Rabson was charged with “felony arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd or lascivious behavior.” He pleaded not guilty last week and was freed after posting $30,000 bond.
Thomas shared the video of his confrontation with Rabson, which went viral and had more than 1,500 shares. The father said he hopes his experience will help other parents and he was looking to create a support group, called "Fathership," for others who went through similar situations.
"This demon has many victims. Many victims. They don't want their names out there,” Thomas said. “They're asking me to fight this for them."