GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Another lawsuit has been filed against the West Michigan man behind a series of YouTube videos in which he confronted alleged sexual predators who he said he met online while pretending to be a teenage girl.
The most recent suit, filed in circuit court Monday, alleges that Zachary Sweers stalked and invaded the privacy of the man in his most recent video. It says Sweers misled the man and intentionally engaged in a sexual conversation before indicating that the woman he was pretending to be was a minor, essentially setting the other man up.
“He’s suing me for slander, saying what I produced the video on YouTube is not true, saying that he didn’t intend to have sex despite him admitting that he said those things,” Sweers said in a video response to the first lawsuit against him. “It’s an excuse that’s been seen on Dateline NBC ‘To Catch a Predator,’ Polk County, Florida stings. It’s been seen everywhere. It’s one of the only things these guys can say in response to serious allegations.”
“I don’t believe a word of that. I don’t believe a word of it. He’s only saying this because he got caught,” he continued.
The allegations in the second suit are similar to those in the first.
“We have the invasion of privacy claims. We also have the defamation claim. However, we have added some claims for violation of a Michigan statute that makes it illegal to videotape somebody when they are in what is defined as a ‘private place,'” said attorney Ross Plont, who’s representing both people suing Sweers.
He said the inside of someone’s car constitutes as a private place, and that the video confrontation was filmed when his client was in his car.
The suit says Sweers met Alastaire Kolk in an online chat group called Omegle. It claims Kolk was only online to meet friends after moving to Grand Rapids. It alleges that Sweers posted a photo of a woman who appeared to be at least 18 years old, then initiated sexual conversation with Kolk, then went on to say he was actually underage, intentionally luring him.
24 Hour News 8 asked Kolk’s attorney if he felt Sweers was acting as a predator himself.
“I think that’s exactly what my lawsuit says,” Plont said.
Sweers maintains his account of how both confrontations played out and his motivation to expose potential sexual predators.
He was not immediately available for comment on the second suit Tuesday.
Sweers posted several videos on his YouTube channel, Anxiety War, of himself confronting men he claims are online predators who arranged meetings for sex when they thought he was a teen girl.
Seven men were charged criminally after he handed over records of his online conversations and his videos to Grand Rapids police. Authorities did not prosecute the person seen in an eighth video. They have told Sweers to stop what he’s doing because it’s dangerous. He previously indicated he wouldn’t.
In an effort to pay for an attorney, Sweers has created a GoFundMe account. As of Tuesday night, that page had raised nearly $25,000.