Students react to viral TikTok of predator caught on campus.
BY ERICA MUNISAR, NEWS EDITOR
Editor’s Note: The content of this story has not been legally disclosed and does not reflect verified claims against the suspect.
On Feb. 1, Mason students witnessed a viral video on campus when an account known as dmvP3dpatrol on TikTok posted a verbal confrontation with an unidentified Mason student who allegedly attempted to meet with an underage thirteen-year-old boy.
The accused student, seen in a pink hoodie and denim zip-up jacket, was sitting outside of the Center of Fine Arts Building where he was confronted by three men hosting the one-minute video clip. The account owner, “Dee”, initiated the conversation and made the student call his parents to explain the situation. “So we’re with DMV Ped Patrol. We actually catch pedophiles trying to meet with children online, and your son here was trying to meet with a thirteen-year-old boy in a public restroom to have sex.”
Dee said as the mother began crying. “It’s not the end of the world, he didn’t do anything with that boy, but I did intercept this and I had to let somebody know.”
Full details of the video or chat logs of the situation were not released by DMV Ped Patrol, though the account owner did claim that evidence was turned in to the police. The video amassed a count of 8 million views on TikTok and 1.2 million likes as nearly 10,000 comments were left on the video in reaction to the situation, some from Mason students.
Four days later on February 4, the account posted a second video titled “44-year-old man caught trying to meet 14-year-old boy at George Mason University”, where a man who was not a Mason student was invited by the account owner to come to campus containing 26,000 undergraduate students and children at the George Mason University Child Development Center (CDC), which lies on the border of campus near Rappahannock Deck.
In the comments, the account owner posted their Cash App to ask for donations. “If you’d like to support us we accept cashapp donations $dmvp3dpatrol . EVERYTHING HELPS! Thank you!”
Full details of the video and evidence were not released to the public the owner claimed that evidence was turned in to Mason PD.
The account owner, who identified themselves as Dee, responded to request for interview and shared their mission to help the community. Dee was later identified as a Mason student according to the Mason Police Department report log.
“My name is Dee, I am an investigative journalist from the DMV Ped Patrol. We strive to protect the DMV youth by finding online predators preying on children. In most cases, but not all, we hand over our information to police so they can carry out the necessary action against these sick criminals. Our mission is to make the DMV a safer place for our children, and the future children to come.” Dee said.
“Our message to anyone who comes across our account—If you have children, we’re doing our best to protect them. If you’re a predator, we’re doing our best to catch you.”
“Dee” further explained the original viral TikTok and claimed to not have intimidated the suspect. “The person from the video reached out to our decoy and solicited nude photographs, sent crude images, and lured our decoy to the Center of Fine Arts building at GMU.” said Dee.
“Once I arrived on scene, we approached the suspect and confirmed he was the same person from the chat (which he was) and proceeded with our interview to get his side of the story. We never intimidate our suspects and always treat them with respect. If at any time he wanted to leave, he was well within his right to.”
Members of Mason reacted to the account by weighing the costs and benefits of its actions.
“I don’t think that situation should be handled through social media as most of time it is made to be a spectacle rather than fighting against pedophilia,” said sophomore Kar Kam.
Most of the pedophile catchers are filming it more for clout than fixing the actual problem. Like other vigilante pedophile hunters, the person they lure out can’t be arrested as they are entrapping the person to a crime. He is making it worse as it gives other pedophiles hints to be more careful while also making the person, they caught not be charged most the time.”
Greenhouse Coordinator for President’s Park Hydroponic Greenhouse Lily Corwin believes that the account was not responsible in their actions and that law enforcement are a qualified option for the situation. “It was irresponsible and dangerous for all involved to have published that video on TikTok. I would advise anyone in this situation to pass along whatever suspicious behavior you may have noticed to organizations that are equipped to deal with predators like. Local police, or maybe the FB.” said Corwin
“There are appropriate ways to publish information like this. The sex offender registry is public, so if we can help collect evidence to pass to authorities, get the offender convicted and put on the registry, that is then public knowledge and were within the rights of the press to publish things.”
As of May 2023, no further videos from the organization have been posted.
The University Police Department offered a statement on the situation officially describing the two incidents. Mason PD was asked about the pending status of the cases.
“On February 2, 2023 Mason Police was made aware of TikTok and Instagram posts from “dmvp3dpatrol” that depicted an interaction between two subjects on the GMU Fairfax campus discussing previous electronic communications that made arrangements to meet an underage individual for sexual acts.” said Mason PD.
“An investigation was immediately launched and the individuals operating the “dmvp3dpatrol” accounts were quickly identified and found to be posing as an underage individual online utilizing a variety of decoy accounts. The individual depicted in the February 1, 2023, social media post was also identified. All parties involved were cooperative with the investigation. The case status was initially listed as “pending” on the Daily Crime & Fire Log as it was still being investigated. The case status has since been updated from pending to closed. Officially the case was closed with an exceptional clearance, meaning the case was handled through the GMU Office of Student Conduct and with the Office of the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney declining to prosecute based on the facts and available evidence in the case.”
“On February 3rd, 2023 Mason Police was contacted directly by the individuals operating the DMVp3dpatrol social media accounts who wished to report an additional incident involving electronic communications that made arrangements to meet an underage individual on the GMU Fairfax campus for sexual acts. Officers responded immediately, identified all involved parties, and thoroughly investigated the incident with the cooperation from all involved. This investigation has been cleared by arrest, with a criminal charge having been filed in the Fairfax County General District Court.”
Following the reports, Mason PD wrote an address to the public.
“Mason Police would like to thank the community members who brought the social media posts to our attention, which sparked our initial investigation.” said Mason PD.
“The accused is not affiliated with George Mason University. Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. In both cases, there was no continuing threat to the university or our community members on campus during these incidents. Through the course of both investigations, it is believed the GMU Fairfax campus was merely used as a public meeting place for the arrangements made online.”
Community members with questions about reported incidents on campus can refer to the Daily Crime & Fire Log for updated information, and may additionally report tips of criminal activity to their Crime Solvers Tip Program and the RAVE Guardian Mobile App.
Students with questions regarding the incident can additionally reach out to Sergeant Ryan Grant of the George Mason University Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 703-993-2810.