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Indiana justices reject former police officer’s claim of entrapment by Predator Catchers

(Provided Photo/Hendricks County Sheriff's Office)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Supreme Court has rejected the case of a former police officer who claims he was “entrapped” by the group Predator Catchers

The state’s highest court announced Monday it will not hear an appeal from Joshua D. Clark. The court did not explain its unanimous decision.

A Hendricks County jury convicted the former Portland police officer of child solicitation in July 2022.

Investigators arrested Clark in May 2021 after watching a livestream of him attempting to meet a 14-year-old girl at a parking lot in Avon.

The “teen girl” was actually an adult working for Predator Catchers Inc. (PCI), which describes its mission as to “expose men and women that are looking to engage in sexual activity with minors.”

The Indiana Court of Appeals had previously rejected Clark’s claim that the group’s work amounted to police entrapment.

A three-judge panel found no evidence police and PCI had worked together on the case.

“First, law enforcement lit no ‘Bat-signal’ calling Schmutte and PCI to action. Rather, as we have explained, law enforcement did not become involved until after PCI livestreamed its encounter with Clark,” Judge Elizabeth Tavitas wrote in the April 25, 2023, decision. “Clark’s conduct suggests that he knew his communications with ‘Mackenzie’ were illegal, yet he continued to engage with and solicit her.”

Clark is serving a six-year prison sentence.

The Indiana Department of Correction lists his earliest possible release date as Jan. 1, 2027.

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