BARNESVILLE, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A 35-year-old Barnesville man is under arrest after deputies saw a YouTube video which allegedly showed a rendezvous for sex with a 14-year-old boy. James Crews is charged with solicitation of a minor for indecent purposes. Deputies said a group called OPHIS posted the video to social media after chatting undercover with Crews and pretending to be a young teen.
Lamar County deputies said the video posted Saturday was enough for them to arrest Crews. They also searched his Barnesville apartment and seized his phone and computer.
“Right now we have an investigator in Spalding County working with the Griffin Police Department to do a dump of the electronic devices,” said Lt. Chad Payne of the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators said they have spoken to the group OPHIS which was cooperating with them. Shot at a Griffin Walmart last week, investigators said a group member is heard confronting James Crews about meeting up with what he thought would be a 14-year-old boy for sex. The group also posted text message screenshots they said of the conversations before the Walmart meeting.
“It’s clear what his intentions were,” Payne said.
FOX 5 News talked with a man who identified himself as John Savior by phone. “OPHIS stands for Online Pedophile and Hebephile Intervention Squad,” he said.
He said the video confrontation with Crews was the group’s first. The video also solicits YouTube subscriptions and PayPal donations.
“I have run across these people in my lifetime and this is what is scary to me that they are just lurking underneath the surface,” he said.
While law enforcement appreciates the group’s intentions, there is a concern for the safety of the film crew and the public.
“Do I condone it? No. It needs to be turned over to law enforcement,” Payne said.
John Savior responded: “I appreciate the concerns for my safety but I would like the focus to be on the children and the potential danger and the damage could have been inflicted on them.”
Investigators said they expect more charges to be filed soon.