Viral video alleging child sex predation leads to detention of Lamar County man

James Crews

This still frame was taken from a video posted online in which a Lamar County man identified as James Crews states his intention to meet a 14-year-old boy to “play” and possibly have sex.

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The Lamar County man seen in a viral video filmed in the Griffin Wal-Mart, where he allegedly planned to meet “John,” who was believed to be a 14-year-old boy, is being held in the Lamar County Jail.

According to Lamar County Sheriff Brad White, the man identified as James Crews turned himself in to the LCSO Monday and is being held while under investigation.

“He came to the Sheriff’s Office. We do have him detained. Right now, we’re just trying to put it together,” White said. “We have him on an investigative hold. We’re waiting to interview the man who took the video and we’re working to obtain warrants to search his phone and computer.”

“Like everyone else, it definitely shocked the conscience a little bit,” White said when asked to describe his response to the video shared on numerous social media platforms. “It was certainly disturbing, and you know, it could have turned violent in the middle of a very populated store. Law enforcement certainly wasn’t aware of it, that’s for certain.”

The video shots Crews, who stated he is 35-years-old, being confronted by a man who identifies himself as John Savior. Savior goes on to say he is affiliated with an organization named OPHIS, which he described as an online watchdog group.

The GRIP has attempted to reach Savior since Saturday, but has been unable to do so.
In the now-viral video, Crews is confronted in the hair dye aisle of the local Wal-Mart.

Crews initially denied any intention of wrongdoing.

“All I was doing was meeting him…John… to hang out,” he said, adding the pair was planning to “go out and get something to eat and hang out.”

Crews acknowledged “John” had told him he was 14-years-old.

Asked if it is appropriate for a 35-year-old man to socialize with a boy that age, Crews replied, “Well, I don’t know. I still have friends that I hang out with that are that age, but I don’t do nothing with them.”

Savior then asked Crews to be truthful about the nature of his meeting with “John.”

“I’m being straightforward. I’m not gonna do nothing that I know I can get in trouble and go to jail for,” Crews replied.

Savior then responded by explaining the he was the person with whom Crews had been communicating online.

“I know what you were gonna do with John. I know exactly what you were planning on doing with John,” Savior said. “I read all of the transcripts. I was actually the person you were communicating with. I was operating the decoy, so I know exactly the type of conversation you were having with John. I just want you to be straightforward with me. You’ve got one more opportunity if you would like to be before I start going through the chat box. Now, what were you going to do with John tonight?”

At that point, Crews stated, “We were gonna go hang out and if he wanted to play, we were gonna play.”

Savior responded, “And by play, you mean…”

“If he wanted to literally have sex or anything, we would have had sex,” Crews said.

Savior asked if Crews if it is acceptable for a man his age to have sex with a 14-year-old child, and Crews said, “If he consents to it.”

Savior then asked, “Do you think a child is capable of consent?”

Crews responded, “Yeah, they have to make up their own decisions.”

In addition to obtaining search warrants for Crews phone and computer, LCSO investigators are also attempting to interview the man identified as Savior.

White said he does not know if Savior is local to the Griffin-Spalding County area.

When asked if he views this as vigilantism, White said, “I would consider this trying to do the wrong way for the right reasons.”

He then elaborated, “What they need to do is contact law enforcement when something like this happens, not take things into their own hands. I think if law enforcement – Sheriff Dix – had been contacted when this video was made, prior to contacting this guy, there could have been resolution.”

Despite his willingness to speak on camera with Savior, Crews has been less forthcoming with investigators.

“We’ve attempted to interview him, but he’s asked for an attorney. It would be great if he would contact an attorney so we can interview him again,” White said, later adding that this is a complex case. “I think it could reach the level of enticing a child for indecent purposes, but there’s still a lot we have to go through. We’re still at the very beginning stages of this. We’re weighing very heavily on our District Attorney’s Office in this, too.”

Although this video was allegedly filmed in the Griffin Wal-Mart, Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix said Lamar County authorities are taking the lead in this investigation, and his office will assist as needed.

“We are working on it together, yes. At this point, Lamar County is handling it since it appears the incident originated in Lamar County. I spoke to Sheriff White around lunch time and if there’s anything that develops further in Spalding County, his folks will contact me and we’ll move forward from there,” Dix said.

While Crews has not been charged with a crime, he can be held for investigative purposes for up to 48 hours.

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Comments

  1. Herbert Lubitz says:

    Well, he did admit that he was pursuing an underage child, so that should have been soliciting the delinquency of a minor and attempting to have relations with a child.

  2. Beverly Trice says:

    If he is guilty of this crime, lock him up for LIFE!

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