ST. LOUIS COUNTY — An O’Fallon, Illinois, man caught in a police sting last year thinking he was going to have sex with a 14-year-old girl was caught again six months later by a vigilante group, federal court documents filed this month say.
Lawyers for Kyle Green, 37, were in federal court Wednesday arguing that he should be released from jail before trial, in part by challenging the reliability of the KTS Predator Hunter’s video. Defense lawyer Justin Gelfand said in court documents that a judge erred in an earlier ruling by relying on “the uncorroborated allegations of a non-law enforcement group...”
KTS is a vigilante group that tries to catch predators by posing as young girls online and broadcasting the resulting confrontations live on Facebook or YouTube.
Lawyer Bill Margulis told U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Clark that Green is not a flight risk and can be supervised by his parents in their home.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Lang responded that the KTS sting shows that Green is a danger to the community because he “cannot stop himself” from going online to try to meet children.
“We were worried he was going to strike again,” she told Clark.
Green was originally arrested Dec. 12 at a Brentwood motel where he thought he was meeting a woman and her 14-year-old daughter for sex, prosecutors say.
Green had responded to an ad for “family fun” posted on the Whisper app by an undercover St. Louis County detective, Adam Kavanaugh, who was pretending to be the mother of the teen, FBI Special Agent David Rapp said during a detention hearing in August, according to the transcript.
After Green requested images of the teen’s genitals, he agreed to meet her and her mother, Rapp said. He was also supposed to receive a thumb drive containing child porn, Rapp said.
Green was not immediately charged, as investigators were searching his cellphone and waiting for a response to subpoenas for cloud storage accounts linked to his phone, Lang said at the August hearing.
Lang said there was not a rush, “because they didn’t think... that he would go out and do it again....”
But June 22, KTS caught Green on video at a Caseyville McDonald’s, where he thought he would be meeting two 13- or 14-year-old teens to “snuggle, cuddle and watch Netflix,” Rapp said.
In the video, a KTS member reveals that Green is married and works as an X-ray technician. He threatens to send a message to Green’s wife and vows to turn the video over to O’Fallon police, and says he has been exchanging messages with Green for about two weeks. Green mostly shakes his head or shrugs when questioned about the reason he showed up for the meeting.
KTS did turn over the video to police, Rapp said in the hearing, and Rapp said he watched it.
Kyle Swanson, who runs KTS, argued the livestream helped, rather than hurt the prosecution’s case.
“I think we showed there are people out there who can’t help themselves,” he said. “They’re a danger and they need to be locked up.”
Green was indicted in U.S. District Court in St. Louis on July 25 on charges of attempted enticement of a minor and attempted receipt of child porn.
Green was living with his parents at the time, after having moved out of the home he shared with his wife and daughter, according to the detention hearing testimony. He was fired because of the information on Facebook and had been fired from Memorial Hospital several years ago because of something found on his computer, Lang said.
At the end of Wednesday’s hearing, Clark said he would decide the defense request later.
Erin Heffernan of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.