Rochester ‘predator catcher’ to stand trial on stalking, DWI charges

(ABC 6 News) – A Rochester man is scheduled to stand trial next year on stalking charges, as well as two DWI–controlled substance cases.

Chase Taner Johnston, 29, was charged with stalking–third or subsequent violation in 10 years after allegedly attempting to catfish a man at an apartment complex, and refusing to let the man leave.

According to court documents, Rochester police responded to a call from a man who said he was being held at an apartment against his will, was not allowed to leave, and was being “set up for trying to sleep with a 16-year-old boy.”

When Rochester police arrived, they allegedly saw Johnston and an adult woman recording the man who called police and yelling at him.

The man told police he had connected with a person on a social networking app, whose profile said they were 20. The two had allegedly discussed smoking marijuana together.

Police allege that in the messages from the fake profile, the “20-year-old” did mention being 16 at one point.

When the man went to the residence, Johnston allegedly let him in, then stood in front of the door and pushed him back inside when he tried to leave, eventually blocking the man’s car door when he got outside.

After an omnibus hearing Thursday, Johnston was scheduled to appear for a pretrial hearing Feb. 13, 2024.

A jury trial is scheduled Feb. 20, 2024.

Johnston is also scheduled to appear for pretrial and trial hearings on the same dates in two DWI cases.

He faces 1st-degree DWI–within 10 years of 3 or more previous impaired driving convictions and DWI–operate motor vehicle under influence of any schedule I/II drug charges from November of 2022.

Johnston also faces a charge of DWI–operate motor vehicle under the influence of controlled substance, a charge of 5th-degree drug possession, and traffic charges including driving after license cancelation from May of 2023.

Johnston pleaded guilty to domestic assault in October of 2022, and to 5th-degree assault in July of this year.

According to court documents, his previous convictions upgrade the stalking charge from a gross misdemeanor to a felony.

Over the summer, Johnston pleaded guilty to one charge of obstructing the legal process from February, as well as a charge of 5th-degree assault from a May 2022 encounter in which he was allegedly assaulted a man during a catfishing attempt where Johnston pretended to be a teenager seeking advice on coming out to his parents.

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Johnston was sentenced to a year of probation in exchange for the dismissal of additional assault and criminal sexual conduct charges from the May 2022 assault.

Another assault charge during a catfishing attempt was dismissed in 2022.

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