Mississippi man charged with sex crime involving a child after citizen’s group launches investigation

COMO, Miss. — A self-described “pedophile hunter” cornered a Mississippi man who allegedly exchanged racy texts with someone he believed was a 14-year-old girl. Panola County Sheriff’s deputies showed up at his home and officially charged him, but not for the text messages.

James Scott, 63, was booked into the Panola County jail and charged with depicting a child engaging in sexual conduct.

“I think he knew that we were coming, but he didn’t know when,” said Sheriff Shane Phelps.

Phelps credits a video shot last month by a man with the group, “Waits List,” which claims to hunt child predators and pedophiles.

Members of the group had allegedly been chatting with Scott while posing as a 14-year-old girl.

“Once the video hit Facebook, I started receiving numerous phone calls,” Phelps said.

The sheriff’s office launched their own investigation and ended up finding an inappropriate picture of an underage girl on one of Scott’s devices. In addition to the image Scott was charged with, investigators say they also found several videos they’re looking into.

As for the unusual way this investigation began— at the hands of citizens and not law enforcement— sex crimes investigator Chantryce Morris says it’s the results that matter.

“I think it’s actually a good thing that they want to help law enforcement, people actually want to help us, especially to catch guys like this that’s trying to mess with children,” Morris said. “I’m all for it.”