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Exclusive: Local group aims to protect children from predators

PLAINVILLE – A former Plainville High School special education teacher is under investigation for what the school is calling inappropriate off-campus activities.

A letter was sent home to parents alerting them that a staff member was put on paid administrative leave on April 3, and later resigned due to the allegations this year.

In a second letter obtained through Freedom of Information requests, FOX61 learned that teacher is Mr. James Batt.

The letter from the Superintendent to the teacher acknowledges Batt was in a video sent to administrators by a student which was produced by Prey on Predators, also known as POPsquad.

Superintendent Maureen Brummett wrote, “Due to the disturbing nature of the video, in which you were allegedly meeting a male who you believed to be 15 years old, I contacted the police.”

Plainville Police confirm there is an criminal investigation underway involving Batt but are releasing few details at this time.

FOX61 spoke exclusively to the creator of POPsquad who calls himself “Incognito.”

The Connecticut father said he created the group to protect innocent children from internet predators.

“Incognito,” said he was an avid watcher of the show, To Catch A Predator, and wanted to see if there were any child predators in the state of Connecticut.

He created “decoy profiles,” online and on smartphone apps pretending to be a teen. He said he does not contact predators, he waits for them to contact him.

He said one of his camera men pose as a live decoy to meet the person and then he shows up.

“I wear a chest camera and I let them know they’re being recorded for my protection and their protection,” Incognito said.

He said he also keeps the online chat logs with the predators.

Incognito said he’s been doing this for four months and has already met 39 people in person, majority of which were Connecticut residents. He said he’s met some people more than once.

He said he has been sent explicit pictures and videos from people, while he was posing as a minor, which he called “downright disgusting.”

Incognito said he met up with Batt at a Dunkin’ Donuts in March.

“He contacted my decoy profile, within the first couple of messages I had told him I was young, I said 15,” Incognito said. “During his interview when I caught him he said he was hoping to be a mentor to the minor, come to find out, he was a mentor as a teacher which was weird.”

FOX61 stopped by Batt’s home, but nobody answered the door.

Plainville Police could not comment on the specific investigation but offered out tips to parents when it comes to their kids online activity.

“There’s people out there that are targeting children and vulnerable children looking to meet up with them,” Lt. Mullins said. “We urge parents to closely monitor their children usage of the internet, particularly social media.”

Plainville police have detectives that specialize in computer crimes and use special software to catch criminals, according to Lt. Mullins.

“My main goal and main focus is to get the laws changed I don’t think the laws are anywhere near as strict as they should be,” Incognito said. “These guys get slaps on the wrist, most of them don’t even see a jail cell and if they do go to jail they get put in protective custody and I don’t think that’s enough.”