A Springfield man has been arrested after a sting coordinated by a group of truck drivers who are working to destroy the child sex trade on the internet.
The group, Truckers Against Predators, worked with the Shannon County Sheriff’s Office in a sting of Jefferson Rippe, 48, who believed he was going to be meeting two 13-year-old girls.
The group will have a member pose online as an underage girl and arrange a meeting with a predator, who will be met by the group on Facebook Live and challenged about why they were attempting to meet up with a child.
In the situation involving Rippe, the group contacted law enforcement to be involved, because under Missouri law the victim in a child enticement case has to be either an actual child or sworn law enforcement officer posing as a child. Members of third party groups like TAP would not be able to result in charges against a predator.
Rippe engaged in sexually explicit behavior with the Shannon County deputy on chat, including sending nude photos, and prosecutors charged Rippe with enticement of a child, sexual misconduct involving a child under 15, and furnishing pornography to a minor.
After a warrant was issued for Rippe’s arrest, TAP arranged a meeting in Springfield and informed Greene County sheriff’s deputies who made the arrest.
Rippe is in the Shannon County jail on $50,000 bond, and is represented by a public defender. A hearing in the case is scheduled for September 15.
The video showing Rippe’s arrest is on the Truckers Against Predators Facebook page.