Teacher faces disciplinary action for allegedly soliciting 14-year-old

Published 11:05 am Sunday, April 11, 2021

NILES — A Brandywine teacher is facing disciplinary action after he was recorded on video allegedly attempting to meet what he believed was a 14-year-old girl at a hotel.

The Facebook Live video, recorded and posted April 2 by a Facebook group called PCI: Predator Catchers Indianapolis, allegedly shows Patrick Stier, 44, entering a hotel room in South Bend with the intent to meet a teenager he met on the internet. Instead, Stier was met by adult representatives from the group, who confronted him about messages exchanged between him and a decoy pretending to be 14 years old.

Criminal charges had not been filed at time of publication.

Though referred to as “Frank Smith” in the video, Stier’s identity was confirmed by Brandywine community members and former students as the video circulated on Facebook over the weekend.

Stier teaches Career Technical Education and CADD at Brandywine High School.

Brandywine Superintendent Karen Weimer said in an email Sunday morning that she was made aware of the video around 9 p.m. Saturday, and that disciplinary action is “in the process.”

“[Stier] will be on leave and will not be in the classroom,” Weimer wrote.

In the video, Stier entered the hotel room to find an adult woman instead of a teenager. A minute or so later, two adult men jumped up from behind a bed and confronted him.

Stier attempted to leave the hotel room but was persuaded by the three adults, members of Predator Catchers Indianapolis, to “have a conversation.” The members assured Stier they were not police and that he was not under arrest.

The woman, not pictured on camera, identified herself as the person Stier had been messaging, and later tells him she is 34 years old, though she had led Stier to believe she was 14.

“You know from our texts that I questioned it over and over and over, and through my bad judgment I showed up,” Stier said in the video.

Stier admitted to sending inappropriate pictures and expressing desire to take a shower with the alleged teenager.

One member of the group identified himself as the father of a teenage girl and a member of Bikers Against Predators.

“What you’re doing right there is you’re admitting to doing the wrong thing,” the man said. “You already knew that it’s against the law.”

Stier said he was a divorced father of two adult sons, and agreed that his actions were wrong.

Throughout the video, Stier said he repeatedly questioned whether the person he messaged was actually 14 and asked if he was going to be part of a “sting” or on “To Catch a Predator.”

“And still you kept going and going and going,” the female said.

When asked for comment Sunday, PCI: Predator Catchers Indianapolis declined to comment.

“At this time, we have not yet identified ‘Frank Smith,’” page managers wrote in a Facebook message. “Until we know more about this situation, we decline to comment. We appreciate you reaching out.”

Weimer said the district would follow state law and board policies throughout the investigation.

Stier has not been arrested in either St. Joseph County, Indiana, where the incident occurred, or Berrien County, where he teaches.

Attempts to reach Stier via phone and email were unsuccessful at the time of publication.