SURREY — Supporters of Creep Catcher Surrey rallied outside the Surrey provincial courthouse Wednesday morning while a Surrey Mountie was set to appear in court that afternoon, charged with one count of child luring.
Constable Dario Devic was arrested on Sept. 9 after Creep Catcher Surrey, a citizen group that aims to weed out “potential predators” and “blast” them on social media, did a sting outside a local mall.
A woman working with Creep Catcher Surrey posed as a 15-year-old girl and allegedly communicated with the officer online after posting an ad on Craigslist.
A meeting was set up outside the Boston Pizza at Surrey Central Shopping Mall in Whalley and Creep Catcher Surrey president Ryan LaForge and his crew live-streamed the sting on the Internet.
Some of the 20 ralliers wore black hoodies, masked their faces with scarves “for personal security” and carried signs that read, “We are here to stay,” and, “We are not going away and will not stay quiet.”
One woman gave them a thumb’s up as she headed into the courthouse. “You guys caught one of our co-workers,” she told them. “Good job guys.”
Another supporter, Tawny Goldrick, said Creep Catcher Surrey is providing a “vital” public service.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it,” he said. “In fact, I think the cops should be supporting it 100 per cent.
“How is this not relevant to society when clearly there’s an epidemic going on with creeps trying to lure kids and these guys are just simply trying to stop that from happening to children?” Goldrick said outside the courthouse.
See more on Surrey’s Creep Catcher: Ryan LaForge aims to weed out ‘potential predators’ and ‘blast’ them on social media
Devic was originally charged with luring a child and breach of trust by a public officer, and released on bail. On Tuesday, the Criminal Justice Branch confirmed the luring charge was sworn on Monday in Surrey provincial court but the breach charge had been stayed.
“After a full review of all the available evidence, the Branch has concluded that the charge of Breach of Trust by a Public Officer does not meet the Branch’s charge assessment standard,” said Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for the Criminal Justice Branch.
LaForge (pictured outside the Surrey courthouse Wednesday) is not impressed. “That’s disgusting,” he told the Now. “Wow. That’s f—-d.”
According to Section 172.1 of Canada’s Criminal Code, governing internet luring, the Crown must prove an accused “believes” the person he or she was communicating with was a minor. A person found guilty of luring a minor on computer is “liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years,” the code states.
The age of sexual consent in Canada was raised to 16 from 14 years on May 1st, 2008 under the Tackling Violent Crime Act.
Devic has been suspended.
Police are conducting an internal code of conduct investigation led by Surrey RCMP Professional Standards Unit with help from the BC Integrated Child Exploitation Unit and Surrey RCMP major crimes unit, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr said at a press conference in September, the day after Devic was arrested.
LaForge said Wednesday’s rally was staged to “let everyone know there’s a community that’s gathering, we’re fed up with the way things are run.”
(Creep Catcher Surrey supporters outside of Surrey Provincial Court on Wednesday morning. Photos by Tom Zytaruk.)