Police discourage Surrey Creep Catcher style vigilantism after announcing child luring charges

Surrey's George Torresani charged with luring a child and transmitting sexually explicit material to a person under the age of 16.

George Torresani has been charged with luring a child and transmitting sexually explicit material to a person under the age of 16. He has been released on numerous conditions limiting his access to children and his use of the Internet

SURREY — Police are again discouraging vigilantism after announcing that a 48-year-old Surrey man has been charged with luring a child online.

Police say George Torresani performed a sex act on a web cam for a fictitious 13-year-old girl. He was arrested at his home on Aug. 9 and a search warrant was executed.

Torresani is charged with luring a child and transmitting sexually explicit material to a person under the age of 16. He has been released on numerous conditions limiting his access to children and his use of the Internet, pending his first court appearance.

Police say the bust is one of numerous cases investigated by the BC Integrated Child Exploitation (BC ICE) Unit’s Online Covert Investigations Team (OCI). The OCI is a group of sex crimes investigator who seek to “identify, engage with, and subsequently prosecute the worst of the worst offenders – adults who are looking to meet children on the internet for a sexual purpose.”

The charges come after a Surrey chapter of Creep Catchers has been making headlines in the region. Creep Catchers is a national group that aims to weed out “potential predators” and “blast” them in social media.

Thousands of people have seen Surrey Creep Catchers footage online, through YouTube and Facebook.

SEE ALSO: Ryan LaForge aims to weed out ‘potential predators’ and ‘blast’ them on social media

Sergeant Hernan Topacio, who heads up the BC ICE unit, has “serious” concerns with this kind of “vigilante phenomenon.”

“The police do absolutely recognize the need to pursue individuals who look to prey on our children. However, given the tremendous risks for public safety should these vigilante confrontations go horribly wrong, or for the true predators to walk away without being prosecuted, this is a job that should be left to the police,” said Topacio in a release.

“We acknowledge we have a common goal with vigilante groups in identifying child predators,” he added. “Having been in the BC ICE team for a number of years now, I know from experience that perpetrators will not stop targeting children simply by being identified publicly through social media or other means. The greater focus needs to be placed in identifying and rescuing victims and ensuring that perpetrators are not able to victimize further. Any effort should certainly extend beyond just the initial public identification.”

The BC ICE warns that the public should know the law is strict with regards to how these types are investigated – and what evidence is required for a successful prosecution. Crimes must be reported to police and the complainant should be prepared to assist police by providing a statement and any evidence contained on electronic devices, as well as online accounts used.

OUR VIEW: Surrey’s Creep Catcher has struck a chord with community

In a recent exclusive interview with the Now, Surrey’s Creep Catcher Ryan LaForge said he wishes police would work with him.

“The police, I want them to step their mandate up and have a change so they’re allowed to contact us and say, ‘Hey, we want your evidence.’ Not just because someone’s complaining,” said LaForge, who claims police don’t contact him until one of the targets contacts them claiming harassment. “What kind of crazy world do we live in?

“As far as the courts go, I want them to stop looking at it like it’s just like a job. I want them to see that it’s life. We’re talking about children. I don’t know if it’s the justice system, I mean it all boils down to our government, what’s wrong with our government? What’s wrong with our government that they can see this is happening, that the justice system is releasing these guys?”

The BC RCMP asks that if you are aware of any incidents of online child exploitation, you report it to your local police or through www.Cybertip.ca.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Young balance-bikers race through Surrey’s Civic Plaza at Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

‘Potentially life-threatening’ injuries in overnight Surrey crash

Police had Highway 10 between 180th and 186th streets closed for several hours

45-year-old ID’ed as victim of South Surrey stabbing

Delphin Paul Prestbakmo died at the scene, near 18 Avenue and 152 Street

Volunteers help remove invasive plants from Surrey park

Environmental groups can be a ‘stepping stone’ for future career

Support granted for NatureKids

Program provides opportunities for youth and families to learn about and enjoy the outdoors

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read