(Gray News) - Last month, Snapchat rolled out a new gender swapping filter that would allow users to take selfies as the opposite sex.
For the most part, it’s resulted in silly photos and videos. Sometimes it’s used to perform pranks. In other cases, it’s caused discomfort for the trans community.
Now, it has led to the arrest of a 40-year-old man who had sworn to protect and serve.
The San Jose Police Department arrested Robert Davies on June 6. Davies is an officer with the San Mateo Police Department. He’s charged with contacting a minor to commit a felony.
Twenty-year-old Ethan, who did not reveal his last name, told police a female friend of his had been molested as a child, so he created an undercover online profile posing as a young woman named Esther to identify possible pedophiles, KNTV reported.
He used Snapchat’s gender swap filter to appear as a young girl.
Investigators said Davies began exchanging messages on Tinder with Esther on May 11. Tinder doesn’t allow minors to register, so Esther’s age was listed as 19.
“I believe he messaged me, ‘Are you down to have some fun tonight?’ and I decided to take advantage of it,” Ethan told local media.
They moved the conversation to the messaging app Kik, where Ethan claimed Esther’s real age was 16.
Davies requested to continue chatting on Snapchat, where they again discussed Esther’s age, police said. The conversation moved into engaging in sexual activities, authorities said.
“We started texting on there, and it got a lot more explicit,” Ethan said.
The two talked for more than 12 hours. Ethan later submitted screenshots of the conversation to Crime Stoppers.
After his arrest, Davies was placed on paid leave.
“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. As San Mateo police officers, we have sworn an oath to serve and protect our communities. I can assure you that we remain steadfast to this commitment to serving our community with Professionalism, Integrity, and Excellence,” San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer said in a statement.
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