The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Watch family’s backyard sting to catch man allegedly seeking sex with teen daughter

When a father in Del City, Okla., found out his 15-year-old daughter was exchanging sexual messages with a 33-year-old man, he gathered his family to take him down, literally.

The father, who does not want to be identified, used an app called Family Time to discover that his teen daughter and an adult man were sending sexually explicit photos and messages back and forth. The parental control app allows parents to monitor their child’s phone calls and text messages and can block certain apps and games.

“He had planned everything with her,” the father said. “He was ready, and we were, too,” he told local news station KOCO 5 News.

The father lured the man to their home by posing as the daughter online and, as the father later said, did “what was right to do as a father.”

Here’s how the police described it after viewing home surveillance video of what happened.

“The family took it upon themselves to pretend to be and invite the suspect to the house to meet her in the back yard in a tent for the purpose of having sex,” Maj. Jody Suit of the Del City Police Department told KSWO news.

“As he walked in and looked into the tent, my first nephew jumped out, my cousin jumped out after that and I came with the zip ties,” the father said.

The June 22 home surveillance video shows the man entering the back yard and opening the tent. The teen’s stepmom is waiting inside the tent. Immediately, the man is tackled by the father, a cousin and a nephew.

The father zip-tied his hands and feet until police arrived.

The teen girl was in the house during the incident unaware of the plan, her father says.

According to the father, the man admitted that he was there to have sex with his daughter. The man remained tied up until police arrived.

The father of three said he had immediately reported the messages to police but didn’t want to wait until the relationship got physical.

The man was arrested on complaints of unlawful communication by the use of technology, using a phone and social media to communicate with a minor.

“I had to do what was right as a father,” the father said.

Police said they don’t recommend setting up an amateur sting operation but Suit said, “As a parent, I don’t blame him. I think it’s your right to protect your children.”