Cassopolis man arrested in St. Joseph County on child solicitation charges
Published 11:28 am Monday, November 8, 2021
GRANGER, Ind. — A Cassopolis man has been charged in St. Joseph County, Indiana for allegedly planning to meet and have sex with what he thought was a teenage girl.
On Friday, Flemming Ryland, 42, of Cassopolis, was formally charged with four criminal counts: child solicitation, a level four felony; attempted vicarious sexual gratification, a level five felony; attempted sexual misconduct with a minor, a level four felony; dissemination of matter harmful to minors, a level six felony.
On Oct. 20, St. Joseph County Police received a report of an adult soliciting a minor in the 12000 block of S.R. 23 in Granger. According to the probable cause affidavit, Ryland solicited who he thought was a 14-year-old girl online but was in fact a decoy profile created by Predator Catchers Incorporated – Indianapolis, a group that creates decoy profiles on dating apps posing as minors. The group then uses the profiles to expose perpetrators who solicit the decoy profiles for sexual purposes.
The group posted a Facebook Live video of members’ confrontation with Ryland on social media the day of the incident.
According to court documents, Ryland had sexual conversations with the group’s decoy, whom he believed to be a 14-year-old girl named “Amy,” both through text and phone calls. In the court documents, police said Ryland admitted that he planned to meet with “Amy” for sexual purposes.
Ryland’s charges carry a sentence of up to a 12-year prison sentence, which is the highest sentence for a level four felony in the state of Indiana.
Ryland’s initial hearing is scheduled for today. Prosecutor Kenneth Cotter has requested Ryland’s bond be set at $15,000, saying Ryland is a “danger to others or the community.”
Ryland’s arrest comes little more than a month after former Brandywine High School teacher Patrick Stier was sentenced in Berrien County after being confronted by the same group, Predator Catchers Incorporated – Indianapolis.
In April, Stier was confronted by the group after attempting to meet with a decoy, who he thought was a 14-year-old girl, at a local motel. Prior to the confrontation, Stier had exchanged sexual communications with the decoy.
On Sept. 13, Stier pleaded guilty to accosting a child for immoral purposes and was sentenced to three years’ probation, 90 days electronic monitoring and $1,058 in fines and costs. He also had to register as a sex offender.