San Diego Sgt Sheriff Luis Rios Sexual Predator Caught Picking Up Kids - Police Earning The Hate
Luis Rios, assigned to the Central Jail, is on administrative duty after accusations that he solicited underage decoys online for sex
A sergeant with the Sheriff’s Department is under investigation after video of a citizen-led sting was posted online Friday night alleging he was soliciting sex from someone posing as an underage boy.
Luis Rios, a 25-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, has been a sergeant for about a year and had been assigned to the San Diego Central Jail, sheriff’s officials said in a statement Saturday. Officials said they “took immediate action” after the allegations surfaced by placing him on administrative assignment Friday night, officials said.
Officials said the department has opened an internal investigation into the allegations but did not say if a criminal investigation was also under way.
“We take these allegations very seriously and will do a thorough investigation into the matter,” the statement read.
Rios could not be immediately reached for comment Saturday.
The sting was conducted by members of a citizen group called People v. Preds, who pose as minors online and engage in sexually explicit chats with adults, then expose them publicly when they are suspected of trying to meet up for sex. They and similar groups operating in San Diego County aim to pick up where Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” show left off more than a decade ago.
People v. Preds posted a video of a confrontation on Instagram Friday. It shows a group member with a camera approaching a man, alleged to be Rios, in a silver SUV in a parking lot, in what was purportedly intended to be a meet-up with an underage boy.
The man denies his name is Luis and says he is waiting for a McDonald’s order. When the cameraman shows him a photo and asks if that is him, the driver acknowledges it is him and asks where the cameraman got it.
The cameraman then asks the driver about online conversations with teenage decoys, and the driver rolls up his window and drives off, the license plate captured on camera.
The group typically livestreams its confrontations and then posts a produced video package — including screenshots of the chat history — on YouTube a few days later. That video was not available Saturday.
In an audio-only snippet archived on Twitter, someone from the group summarizes messages alleged to have been exchanged with a different decoy posing as a 15-year-old boy in October, including a graphic discussion proposing meeting to have sex. Some chat screenshots were posted on the group’s Instagram stories.
The citizen group also posted on Instagram selfies that were purportedly sent to at least one of the decoys of a man dressed in a sheriff’s deputy uniform.
Acting Sheriff Kelly Martinez reportedly sent a letter to sheriff’s employees Friday night in which she acknowledged “an incident on the internet that an employee of the Sheriff’s department engaged in potential criminal activity,” according to a screenshot of the letter posted by The Activated Podcast on Twitter.
“I am writing you tonight to let you know that all allegations of misconduct, criminal activity or other violation of public trust by one of our own, will be investigated immediately and thoroughly,” the letter read.
The letter also urged all employees to protect the department’s reputation and their own integrity and honor, and to get professional and wellness support when needed to cope with the stressors of the job.