Police Claim Male College Student Who Uses Snapchat “Gender Switch” Filter to Catch Predators Ends Up Nabbing Cop Allegedly Looking for Underage Sex
The 40-year-old officer allegedly believed he was interacting with a 16-year-old; he is now reportedly charged with contacting a minor to commit a felony.
SAN JOSE, CA — Police say a male, 20-year-old Bay Area college student used Snapchat’s “Gender Swap” filter to pose as a teen girl and ended up catching a 40-year-old police officer who is now accused of allegedly looking for underage sex.
According to NBC News, the student, who asked to just be identified as Ethan, wanted to stop online predators after hearing about how a friend of his had been sexually abused as a child. As a result, Ethan said he used the Snapchat filter “Gender Switch” to make himself look female and then opened a Tinder account as “Esther.” From there, Ethan claims, an interested man got in touch. That man, according to the San Jose Police Department, is allegedly San Mateo Police Officer Robert Davies, age 40. “I believe he messaged me, 'Are you down to have some fun tonight?' and I decided to take advantage of it,” Ethan said.
Switching to the texting app Kik, Ethan alleges that “Esther” told Davies she was 16 and asked if that would bother him. Police say that screenshots of the conversation imply Davies indicated he was okay with "Esther" being underage. Over the next 12 hours, according to Ethan, “Esther” and Davies chatted about engaging in “explicit” sexual activity. Ethan then reportedly sent screenshots of the exchanges to Crime Stoppers, who contacted the San Mateo PD.
After a court-ordered search of Davies’ home, electronic devices, and mobile applications, the SMPD stated it arrested Davies on suspicion of contacting a minor to commit a felony. He was then booked in Santa Clara County Jail. San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer told the press, “This alleged conduct, if true, is in no way a reflection of all that we stand for as a department, and is an affront to the tenets of our department and our profession as a whole.”
In looking back at the incident, Ethan told NBC News, “I was just looking to get someone. He just happened to be a cop.”