A vigilante group known to track sexual predators online is in trouble. KTS Predator Hunters’ leader Kyle P. Swanson, who declared last year that he was running for Madison County Sheriff, was arrested earlier this month on several charges.
According to Madison County Court documents, Swanson was indicted by a grand jury for unlawful restraint, obstruction of justice by destroying evidence, and assault. Online court records do not show if they are connected to one of the group’s sting operations. Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas Haine said the charges and indictment after an investigation by Illinois State Police was conducted into various actions Swanson took relating to his involvement in the KTS organization.
Swanson was ordered to pay a $40,000 recognizance bond in the case. A preliminary hearing has been set on the charges for June 11th. Charges issued by a grand jury only indicate probable cause. The defendant is found innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Haine said in a press release that citizens should utilize existing law enforcement channels rather than taking the law into their own hands in pursuing suspicious, criminal behavior. Haine said that vigilante justice endangers others, damages potential criminal cases, and can possibly violate an individual’s protected Constitutional rights.
Swanson and his group were shut down after one of the targets of his sting operations sued in Madison County Court after they lost their job as a security guard. Swanson’s group also has received push back from law enforcement agencies in Illinois and Missouri. The group also drew the ire of a local school district after they set up a sting operation in the parking lot of a school in Collinsville.
According to the group’s website, they have not had operations since January.