Another plea entered in video vigilante operation targeting sex predators

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A sixth man nabbed in a clandestine sting targeting sex predators pleaded no contest Thursday, Nov. 10 to a reduced charge stemming from his December encounter with a so-called video vigilante.

Dan Richard Barnes entered a plea to attempted accosting children for immoral purposes.

In exchange for his plea, Kent County prosecutors agreed to drop the original accosting charge, a four-year felony. The attempted accosting charge is punishable by up to two years in prison.

Barnes will return to court for sentencing Jan. 3 before Kent County Circuit Court Judge Paul Sullivan. Five men already sentenced have received probation. 

At 69, Barnes is the oldest of the seven men snared in the video dragnet. Six have entered pleas or been convicted at trial. The last of the group, 37-year-old Jered Andrus, has a trial scheduled for mid-January.

They were all targeted by 23-year-old Zach Sweers, who posed as a 15-year-old girl to flush out men looking to have sex with a minor.

The evidence was turned over to Grand Rapids police and led to criminal charges.

Barnes, of Grand Rapids, arranged a meeting at a fast food restaurant on Leonard Street NW west of U.S. 131. There was no girl, just Sweers with a video camera.

Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth in early May sent Sweers a letter asking that he end the video encounters.

 

(© 2016 WZZM)


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