Editor’s note: This article has been adjusted to clarify what group was looking into the matter.
CHURUBUSCO — A Churubusco sex offender was recently arrested after being approached by a predator exposure group for having sexual discussions with who he believed were children.
Paul L. Fowler, 53, 5220 N. East Drive, Churubusco, is charged with three counts of child solicitation and failure to register as a sex or violent offender with a prior conviction, all level 5 felonies.
On March 6, officers with the Churubusco Police Department investigated a report of child solicitation. Upon arrival at the scene, officers were informed that Fowler was messaging who he believed to be children online. Officers were also aware that Fowler is a registered sex offender.
According to court documents, during an interview at the Churubusco Police Department, Fowler admitted to messaging girls under the age of 18. Fowler’s phone was submitted into evidence.
A group of people, later identified as Women Against Predators, told officers that Fowler had sexual conversations with three decoys who were posing as underage girls.
Another group, Bikers Against Predators, has been involved in numerous arrests of individuals caught in their video feeds. This is the first arrest publically connected to Mothers Against Predators in Kosciusko County.
Fowler said when he woke up, the group came to his home to confront him about his online activities. Fowler told officers he had recently relapsed with using methamphetamine and that he discussed sexual matters with the decoys. He said the sexual conversations only happened when he was using drugs.
Fowler acknowledged that he was under the impression all three people he talked with were underage and that he discussed sexual topics with all of them. He told officers he never had any intentions of meeting any of them in-person but that messages on his phone would make it sound like the opposite.
Documents provided to officers from Women Against Predators showed chat messages between Fowler and the decoys.
On April 3 and 6, officers received reports regarding cellphone data on Fowler’s phone. Officers found nine social media apps that are capable of being used to message other individuals.
On Fowler’s sex offender registry, Fowler registered a Facebook account and four email addresses but no other social media.
Fowler was booked in the Whitley County Jail on May 24.