Man Says He Was Falsely Accused of Preying on Kids

     GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (CN) — A YouTube vigilante is facing his second lawsuit for luring people he believed to be predators into exposing their identities by posing as a child online.
     Zach Sweers of Grand Rapids, Mich., has received an outpouring of financial support to defend himself against libel and slander charges brought by the subjects of his amateur stings, who claim he is “the real predator,” even as one faces criminal charges.
     Sweers runs a website and YouTube channel called Anxiety War, which is named as a defendant in the most recent lawsuit, filed by Alastaire Ryan Kolk in Kent County.
     “Sweers has a modus operandi of luring lonely men in with pictures of beautiful women who appear to be adults, engaging men in sexually explicit conversation, then — and only then — he would claim to be a minor female,” Kolk says through his attorney Ross Plont of Newton Plont LLC.
     The initial picture Sweers sent Kolk showed a person with a piercing, which Kolk says indicates adulthood because “[m]inor children generally do not have nose piercings.”
     Sweers arranged to meet with Kolk under false pretenses, then posted an edited version of their recorded encounter on YouTube, the June 27 complaint states. The video was viewed more than a million times before Sweers took it down.
     The video displayed text, allegedly from Kolk’s conversation with Sweers posing as a minor, which Kolk calls “false and defamatory.”
     The video implied Kolk asked, “How tall are you and do you shave down low?… I was just wondering because I like to go down.”
     Based on Sweers’ past videos, police have arrested and charged seven alleged predators, according to local news reports, but they will no longer do so.
     The plaintiff in the first civil lawsuit, Zachary Snoeyink, is one of those seven, and is currently facing felony charges, according to reports.
     The Kent County prosecutor declined to pursue charges against Kolk, instead sending Sweers a letter advising him to stop his vigilantism.
     Kolk lost his job as a result of Sweers’ activity, he claims, and is seeking more than $25,000 in damages.
     Kolk says Sweers is doing this for his own fame and attention, noting that he has raised more than $23,000 since the first lawsuit was filed.
     However, Sweers has claimed on multiple occasions that he has made no money and even refused donations for Anxiety War in the past, and only started a crowdfunding campaign when a judge advised him to get a lawyer for the civil lawsuits.
     More than 1,000 donors have given a total of $25,815 to the campaign as of press time.
     Sweers did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment, and a voicemail left at Newtown Plont was not immediately returned.

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