Stephen Buchanan

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Stephen Buchanan
Stephen Buchanan Mugshot.webp
Buchanan's October 2015 mugshot
Stephen Philip Buchanan

(1988-09-12) September 12, 1988 (age 34)
OccupationFormer Connecticut National Guard member

Stephen Philip Buchanan (September 12, 1988) is an American former Connecticut National Guard member and convicted sex offender. In October 2015, Buchanan was confronted by Chris Hansen after traveling to a sting house thinking he was going to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. He showed up to the sting house with a gun, duct tape, a knife, a camera, and a box of condoms in his car, something Hansen considered a "kill kit." In July 2016, Buchanan was sentenced to three years in prison and 10 years of probation.

Background and sting[change | change source]

Before getting caught in the sting, Stephen Buchanan was a Iraq war veteran and a member of the Connecticut National Guard.[1][2] Buchanan wanted to become a Stratford police officer and was listed at number 100 on the department's hiring list.[3][4] Buchanan got arrested along with nine other men during a four-day operation in October 2015.[5] In the sting operation, the men visited a home to meet up with a person they thought was a 12- or 13-year-old boy or girl they had been texting and communicating with online.[5] The operation was aired on a Kickstarter-funded American reality television show called Hansen vs. Predator,[6] which was hosted by Chris Hansen, former host of Dateline NBC's To Catch a Predator.[5] The Fairfield Police Department and the State's Attorney's Office helped with the operation.[5]

Buchanan, who was 27 years old at the time,[7][8] talked to someone who he believed was a 13-year-old girl named "Bailey".[1] He sent her several sexually graphic messages, including texts saying, "You know your gonna shower with me Thursday night."[9] Buchanan arrived at a sting house in Fairfield, Connecticut, and tried to get the child, who was actually an adult female decoy posing as a teenage girl, to come with him in his car by promising to let her drive it. He kept saying that he had nothing bad with him. When things got tense and he refused to enter the house, Hansen appeared and told him that he wanted to talk to him. They talked at the table in the sting house's dining room, and Buchanan claimed that his time in Iraq made him want to be around younger girls.[1]

Arrest and legal process[change | change source]

After Buchanan was taken into custody, Fairfield police officers searched his car and found a black bag with a loaded, legally registered gun, a roll of duct tape, a knife, a camera, and a box of condoms.[1][10] Hansen stated that he was "blown away" by what police found in Buchanan's car. He said during all the investigations he had done up to that point, he had never seen a man show up with what could have been considered a "kill kit". When Hansen asked police chief Gary MacNamara about what he thought if Buchanan had met a real child and she willingly entered his car, he responded, "Nothing good." Chief MacNamara said that he could only guess what would have happened based on what Buchanan had with him and the fact that he showed up. He said that the things in the car were meant for something bad, and that a real child would be in danger of getting seriously hurt because of what he had with him.[1]

After Buchanan was arrested, he was charged with three felonies: attempted second-degree sexual assault, attempted risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor in an obscene act.[11][12][13] He was held in lieu on a $1.1 million bond.[3] On October 20, 2015, Buchanan appeared before Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin wearing an orange prison jumpsuit to plead not guilty to all three felony charges he was facing.[11] Buchanan's lawyer, Michael A. Fitzpatrick, focused on other parts of the case that he found concerning. He said, "The arrest reeks of entrapment and again raises the debate on whether a sting catches a criminal or creates a criminal."[11] On May 5, 2016,[14] Buchanan entered a guilty plea to each of the three felony counts brought against him.[12] Judge Devlin announced that he would impose a sentence of up to three years in prison for Buchanan on July 1, 2016.[12] Fitzpatrick stated that he would not comment on the matter prior to the sentencing hearing.[12]

Sentencing[change | change source]

During sentencing, Fitzpatrick asked the court for a 12-month prison sentence for his client. However, he argued that his client needed treatment instead of prison. Fitzpatrick claimed that the decoys his client talked to gave him the "attention" he needed in his life. Bill O'Brien, who was the athletic director at the Sterling House in Stratford where Buchanan worked, also asked for compassion for Buchanan. O'Brien said that he wasn't sure why Buchanan wanted to sexually assault a child, but he had already lost his job and his girlfriend, which was a big punishment. O'Brien believed that Buchanan just needed help.[15]

Buchanan said that his PTSD caused him to do what he did. He claimed that he now had a "new outlook on life" because of his arrest. Buchanan said he wanted to help other soldiers who had problems like he did. Then he thanked the detectives who arrested him and said they saved his life that day. Judge Devlin noted that Buchanan served in the United States military, but he also knew Buchanan thought he was talking to two 13-year-old girls and talked about doing sexual things with them. Judge Devlin sentenced Buchanan to eight years in prison, suspended after he served three years. The judge also sentenced Buchanan to 10 years of probation and ordered him to register as a sex offender for 10 years.[15]

Aftermath[change | change source]

In June 2021, during a Reddit post where people discussed what the men did before they were caught in Hansen's shows, one Reddit user claimed that they had served with Buchanan in the military. They stated that Buchanan was a mechanic and was never deployed, and that Buchanan only claimed he was deployed to gain sympathy from Hansen. They claimed that even if Buchanan was deployed, he would have very "seldom left base". The user ended by mentioning that Buchanan had a "creepy-ass vibe to him".[16]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Holloway, Henry (October 14, 2016). "Video: Chilling moment paedo perv is found with 'Kill Kit' in sting". Daily Star. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  2. Reilly, Genevieve; Tepfer, Daniel (October 5, 2015). "10 child-predator suspects bagged in TV reporter's Fairfield sting". Connecticut Post. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Salzo, Vincent (October 21, 2015). "Man Charged in Fairfield Child Predator Sex Sting Aspired to be a Police Officer". Patch. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  4. Tepfer, Daniel (May 5, 2016). "Cop candidate faces 3 years in sex sting". Connecticut Post. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Salzo, Vincent (May 6, 2016). "Former Cop Candidate Pleads Guilty in Connection to Fairfield Sexual Predator Sting Operation". Patch. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  6. Polansky, Jay (October 5, 2015). "Fairfield Man Nabbed In Reality TV Bust Of Child Sex Predators". The Daily Voice. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  7. "'To Catch A Predator' Host Chris Hansen Helps Connecticut Police in Sex Crime Sting". NBC New York. October 8, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  8. "Fairfield Police Make 10 Sexual Predator Arrests With Help of Former 'To Catch a Predator' Host: PD". NBC Connecticut. October 7, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  9. "'Take a seat' -- Chris Hansen is back!". True Crime Daily. September 9, 2016. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  10. Salzo, Vincent (September 22, 2016). "Watch: Stratford Man's Sexual Predator Arrest Featured on Chris Hansen's New Show". Patch. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Tepfer, Daniel (October 20, 2015). "Not-guilty pleas in Fairfield sex sting". Connecticut Post. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Tepfer, Daniel (May 5, 2016). "Cop candidate faces 3 years in sex sting". Connecticut Post. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  13. Barg, Jim (October 20, 2015). "Not Guilty Plea Entered In Fairfield 'Predator' Sex Sting". The Daily Voice. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  14. Salzo, Vincent (May 6, 2016). "Former Cop Candidate Pleads Guilty in Connection to Fairfield Sexual Predator Sting Operation". Patch. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Tepfer, Daniel (July 1, 2016). "Cop candidate, youth coach sentenced in underage sex sting". Connecticut Post. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  16. Marder, Hannah (June 8, 2021). "People Are Sharing What 'To Catch A Predator' Men Were Like Before They Were Caught On The Show, And It's Pretty Scary". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved March 17, 2023.