Ohio police catfish gay teenager for crimes using fake dating app profile

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

A police force in Ohio sent nude photos on a fake dating profile to a 22-year-old university student in order to arrest him for a string of crimes he is alleged to have committed.

The university student, named Albert Maruna IV, was targeted by police who used a fake dating profile to lure in the suspect, says the Hit and Run blog.

The police, who created the fake profile, began chatting to Albert Maruna IV, and then revealed that they were 15 years old.

A.G then said that he could overcome the age difference, and the fake profile began to send him nudes.

When the two arranged to meet, the police charged Albert Maruna IV with four offences – importuning, possessing criminal tools, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, and attempted unlawful conduct with a minor.

But the police force have come under criticism for using unjust tactics to target Albert Maruna IV, as the perpertator didn’t start out looking for someone underage, say the Hit and Run blog.

“I don’t condone college students trying to hook up with high-schoolers. But interest from someone a few years over 18 in someone just a few years under 18 doesn’t necessarily denote deviant sexuality,” wrote writer Elizabeth Nolan Brown.

“This is especially when that interest is circumstantial. Albert Maruna IV didn’t start out looking for someone underage,” she added.

Brown also notes that Maruna is gay in a “difficult part of Ohio.”

“He is gay in a part of Ohio where that’s still really difficult sometimes. I can’t imagine finding romantic partners has been easy in this man’s life,” she added.

“Maruna was preyed on by police who pretended to be interested and said exactly what he wanted to hear, even after realizing the emotional attachment he was developing and the potential psychological effect this was having on him. And now he will likely be branded a sex offender and a pedophile for life,” she added.

Maruna was scheduled to appear in court to answer the charges Wednesday morning.