People lie all the time on Grindr, this I’m well aware of. What you see isn’t necessarily what you get either in looks, sex role, or age—and it works both ways.
This week a South Lyon, MI man named Cody Hunter Swatling pleaded guilty as charged to one count of accosting a child for “immoral purposes and possession of child sexual abusive material as well as two counts each of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and using a computer to commit the crime,” reports Livingston Daily.
The boy he had sex with was 15 at the time (he’s since turned 16). They both met on Grindr, and according to reports Swatling isn’t the only guy who faces criminal charges. Three other men are facing separate charges for separate sexual encounters with the same teen.
Here’s something to think about: Was the teen lying about his age? Does it really matter?
The sexually abusive materials spoken about in Swatling’s count were nude photos sent by the teen himself via computer. It wasn’t until a relative of the unnamed 15-year old reported the encounters to police that the four men were charged.
Underage teens have a different relationship with Grindr than most men. They’re young, and the app is exciting and seems to have little consequences. The combination can be very dangerous, but what about the men these teenagers might be messaging? Should they be labeled a child molester if they weren’t aware of the guy’s real age?
Grindr is an app that promotes casual sex, but it also pressures its users to exaggerate themselves in order to attract local guys. It’s not for children, which is why it ought to be controlled. But at the same time, we ought to really ask ourselves what a molester actually is.
I’ve seen molesters. They lure young people knowing full well what they’re doing. Guys on Grindr look for sex, which isn’t a crime. But having sex with a minor is a felony, which is why Grindr users need to be responsible for their actions—but it’s easier said than done for some guys, it seems.
Swatling is seeking sentencing under the state’s Holmes Youth Trainee Act, which means he would not have a public criminal record if he successfully complete probation. No word on how the other men’s cases will pan out.