weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Las Vegas man used Grindr to meet minor for paid sex, police say

A man who allegedly used the Grindr app to solicit and pay a male juvenile for sex is under house arrest pending his court appearance on five felony counts, including facilitating sex trafficking of a person under 16.

John Buddell contacted the minor on Grindr and met with the boy multiple times for sex acts at Buddell’s condominium near Santa Fe Station, Metropolitan Police Department detectives said in an arrest report.

The 61-year-old Las Vegas man was arrested Jan. 20 and faces charges in Las Vegas Justice Court of luring a child or mentally ill person to engage in sex, statutory sexual seduction, facilitating sex trafficking of a child under 16, child abuse and neglect and customer engaging in soliciting a child for prostitution.

He was released from the Clark County Detention Center on $100,000 bond a day later, when a judge ordered him supervised under high-level electronic monitoring, or house arrest, while he awaits a Feb. 21 preliminary hearing.

Detectives learned about Buddell’s alleged liaisons with the juvenile in November, when Buddell filed a report with police complaining that the boy sprayed an air freshener in his face, stole $1,300 in cash from him after he paid the kid $100 for sex and battered Buddell during a struggle, the arrest report said.

“Buddell met the (robbery) suspect through the Grindr app approximately one year ago,” detectives wrote in the arrest report. “Buddell had met the suspect approximately eight times and engaged in sexual intercourse. Buddell normally paid the black male $60 for engaging in sex together.”

Grindr is a “social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people,” according to the service’s website.

The detectives, with the department’s vice section, are assigned to the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force that investigates juvenile victims manipulated into commercial sex through prostitution. They launched a probe with “Buddell now as a suspect and (the child) as the victim of sex crimes,” according to the report.

Assisted by the Clark County School District Police Department, a Las Vegas police detective identified the minor as the possible suspect in the November robbery. Buddell later identified the juvenile from a lineup of photos, according to police.

In an interview with vice detectives, the juvenile said that in November 2021 he created an online profile on Grindr “to meet people” and was reached by Buddell “regarding a meeting to hook up which included sex in exchange for $60,” detectives said in the report.

The juvenile told police he provided Buddell with his number on the TextNow free wireless texting service to contact him. “However, they usually communicated via Grindr,” the report said.

Their first meeting in person took place in November 2021, when Buddell drove to pick the juvenile up, brought him to Buddell’s residence and told him “of the various sexual acts he wanted to do with him in exchange for money,” according to vice detectives.

The juvenile said the two engaged in sexual and oral intercourse about six times between then and November 2022, the report said. Buddell used a condom only twice, which caused “unjustifiable mental suffering” for the victim, and encouraged him “to engage in prostitution.”

Detectives showed the minor six photographs of men, and he picked the one of Buddell, the report said.

Police reviewed video from a body camera worn by the officer who interviewed Buddell about the robbery, during which Buddell admitted to paying the juvenile $60 to $100 for sex six or seven times prior to the robbery, the report said.

On Jan. 20, officers knocked on Buddell’s door at his residence on Squaw Mountain Drive and arrested him.

After his Miranda rights were read, he consented to a voluntary statement in which he said he met the juvenile over Grindr seeking paid sex, drove him to his condo in a Chevrolet Equinox and admitted to having sex with the minor multiple times without using a condom.

“When asked (by officers) if child pornography of (the juvenile) would be on any devices inside his residence Buddell acknowledged it may be on his cellphone,” detectives reported.

Police later obtained a search warrant from a Justice Court judge and impounded two Samsung cellphones and a Microsoft tablet found in Buddell’s home.

This story has been updated to correct the number of charges that John Buddell is facing after he was arrested Jan. 20.


Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow @JeffBurbank2 on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
2 arrested in child sex sting operation

Two men have been arrested in a child sex solicitation sting operation run by the Nevada Attorney General’s Office with the assistance of federal and local law enforcement officials, authorities said Tuesday.