A Pennsylvania police officer was busted in an underage sex sting conducted by a group of “concerned citizens” posing as children, police said.
Clifford Horn, a 54-year-old corporal for the Central Bucks Regional Police Department, had little to say when approached in Atlantic City, New Jersey Sunday by a man who runs Colorado Ped Patrol — a group that attempts to nab child predators, video shows.
“We’re just having a conversation with a gentleman trying to meet with a child,” Thomas Fellows of the vigilante group tells Horn as the officer was allegedly caught in the act.
“Your zipper’s down by the way,” Fellows continues. “You’re standing in front of the running car. We got your text messages. Listen man, you want to talk and tell us why you’re here?”
“I’m not trying to meet with a child,” replies Horn, who apparently said his name was Matt in the purported texts.
The officer then starts to walk away as Fellows urges him to “take accountability” for his actions.
He was later arrested by awaiting cops, video shows.
Atlantic City police confirmed Horn’s arrest Sunday, saying in a statement he was among four men charged with luring/enticing a child by various means following “assistance” from the public.
“The concerned citizens were engaged in posing as underage children on various social media sites,” police said. “They would confront the individual and notify law enforcement.”
Responding cops were provided screenshots of conversations between the suspects and the citizen group prior to their arrests, police said.
Horn, of Chalfont, allegedly went onto Grindr to set up a sex act with someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy, sending a photo of himself in his underwear, WPVI reported.
Fellows told the Philadelphia Inquirer he confronted Horn at a location that had been arranged online hours earlier. He said he was unaware that the man was a police officer, but suspected he was an attorney.
“He was just too good,” Fellows told the newspaper. “He wouldn’t talk.”
Fellows, who started his group in April after one of his sons was sexually assaulted, said he creates dating app profiles posing as young teen girls or boys and waits for people to respond. Meetings then usually occur within hours, Fellows said.
“They reach out to us,” he said. “We never reach out to them.”
Horn and the three other men who were arrested since Thursday on the same charge were released on a summons, Atlantic City police said.
The other suspects were identified as Jose Machuca, 51, of Hyattsville, Maryland; Sambatrimiaina Raminoson, 26, of Atlantic City; and Eugene Pulley, 49, of Philadelphia.
Horn was suspended late Monday without pay effective immediately, CBS Philadelphia reported.
Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said Monday his office will start evaluating all criminal cases in which Cpl. Horn was involved.
“Our office has assigned personnel to assist New Jersey authorities in any capacity, and to investigate and prosecute any criminal activity that may have occurred in Bucks County,” Weintraub said in a statement.
“This office protects all victims, regardless of whether the accused perpetrator is an officer of the law or not. No one is above the law.”