SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — 49-year-old Daniel Messer entered a not guilty plea on Thursday in Scott County District Court. Messer is charged with unlawful transaction with a minor, and evidence tampering after police in Georgetown arrested him Wednesday.
Messer, according to police traveled to Tennessee with the intention of meeting with a minor. It was part of a sting operation that was being run by a civilian in Tennessee, who had been doing this before the pandemic and recently resumed following the birth of his daughter.
“After I had my daughter – she’s five months old – it made me want to get back into it,” said Nathan Sherrod. “I’ve seen other groups do it on YouTube and that’s what originally made me want to get into it; just knowing I could make a difference,” he continued to say while taking a break from his actual job.
Sherrod is admittedly a fan of the show, “To Catch a Predator,” and he said he never intends to trap anyone. In this case, involving Messer, he posted a picture of a woman who isn’t a minor and when Messer reached out, Sherrod told him that she is a minor. Sherrod said Messer at first seemed to have second thoughts.
“He backed off a little bit, and I said, ‘well, if you change your mind just let me know.’ Two seconds later he texted me and said to download What’s App and talk to me there where it’s encrypted. From there it was game on,” Sherrod explained.
Sherrod posted many of these messages to his YouTube page, and in at least one of them, it’s very clear that Sherrod is posting as a teenager and that the message recipient understands that.
He said Messer made the trip from central Kentucky to Tennessee, but never got out of his car. Sherrod got pictures of his license plate and called law enforcement in Kentucky. He said officials in Tennessee haven’t been as willing to work with him.
“To me, this is an offense that if you commit it’s not an accident. Especially when you drive three hours to commit it,” Sherrod said.
Messer would be free by posting 10 percent of his $20,000 bond. He is not allowed to have contact with any minors and is due back in court on May 17th.