Texas Teacher Who Committed Suicide After Being Snagged in Underage Grindr Sex Sting Was Unfairly Set Up by Cops, Family Says
In a lawsuit filed August 2, 2021, the family of a Texas teacher—who committed suicide after being trolled by an undercover cop on the gay dating app Grindr—accuses the Conroe Police Department (CPD) of unfairly targeting him because he was gay.
The incident unfolded on July 31, 2019, when Brian Petersen accessed the app. A closeted gay man, the 39-year-old junior high school teacher, later said in his suicide note that he used it to find sex, often with younger men and often involving younger/older age role-play.
That day he ran across CPD Detective Darrick Dunn, a 41-year-old Black man pretending to be much younger and White. When Petersen asked for his age, Dunn played coy at first, eventually saying he was 14 and sending a photo of a White teenage boy. At that point, Petersen asked for a voice memo.
In his later suicide note, Petersen said the voice was not a child's, but he added that he had been involved before with Black men who wanted to role-play being younger and White. His family believes that's why he proceeded with the in-person meeting Dunn suggested, where Petersen was arrested. But Dunn failed to preserve the voice memo.
Petersen had never been in trouble with the law before his arrest for online solicitation of a minor. His home and computer search turned up no evidence of child pornography or targeting minors for sex. In a lengthy note penned to his family, Petersen explained that even though the charge was probably beatable, he was confident it would ruin his career. He died by suicide on August 2, 2019, two days after bonding out of jail.
His family filed the suit for false arrest and malicious prosecution to prevent other gay men from being unfairly targeted, said his father, Douglas Petersen, who added that his son “shouldn’t have been charged with a crime, he wasn’t a criminal.”
Sources: Daily Beast, KPRC-TV
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