Timeline/Graphics: How a QU professor got caught in a sex sting
By Nora Scally, Cullen Ronan and Aaron Robinson
Following the incriminating video of a Quinnipiac University finance professor who appears to be looking to have sexual relations with a 14-year-old boy, an online sting operation has been brought to light.
The sting netted Dr. Thomas Coe, an associate professor and chair of the finance department.
Coe, who has been suspended pending an investigation, but not arrested, began teaching at Quinnipiac in 1999.
After extended online conversations posing as a minor, the head of an organization known as “PopSquad (Prey on Predators Squad),” who goes by “Incognito,” lured Coe into meeting up with what he believed to be an underage boy, only to greet Coe with a camera upon his arrival.
Leading up to the interaction, he had canceled his classes after November 1 due to travel and out of town conferences.
He sent out an e-mail hours before his interaction with “PopSquad” as well.
“PopSquad” is dedicated to luring and exposing child predators in Connecticut, in an effort to help protect children and “raise community awareness around the issue in hopes of toughening laws and legislation” according to the “PopSquad” website.
The videos taken of unsuspecting predators, including the one featuring Coe, are then posted to the “PopSquad” website, where they join the ranks of the other 129 individuals that Incognito has caught on camera.
Incognito told Fox 61 that the mission of “PopSquad” is to change Connecticut legislation regarding how the state handles sex offenders.
“Technology has outgrown our laws and that’s a huge loophole that a lot of the guys I catch get,” Incognito said. “If they go online and they talk to your child and they don’t say anything sexual, they technically aren’t breaking a law,”
HQ Press reached out to Incognito regarding “PopSquad”, who says he has stopped talking to news outlets because he feels as though they are also part of the problem, but did not elaborate on the issue.
The “PopSquad” method of exposing sexual offenders bares a resemblance to Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator,” a program aired from 2004 to 2007 that used similar means of convincing offenders to meet up with underage boys and girls through online chat rooms.
However, those who were caught by the operation would leave in handcuffs after the executors of the sting were temporarily deputized by the local police department throughout the length of the sting.
Despite not having an affiliation with law enforcement, the efforts of “PopSquad” have gained plenty of traction online, tallying thousands of views and leading to 14 arrests, nine pending trials and five convictions throughout its two-year history.
However, questions still remain about the future of the 104 other predators caught in the “PopSquad” sting.