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

Work on South Surrey’s Bailey bridge booked

Week-long closure of King George Boulevard structure to start Monday: ministry

Environment, finance top of mind for new Surrey Councillor Steven Pettigrew

Unexpected advocacy led to political mentorship, says first-term councillor

Noted fiddlers bring kids to Surrey stage for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’ concert

Bell theatre date for Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy as they reunite for 23-city tour of Canada

South Surrey native wins ‘Oscars of hairdressing’ award

Simon James named Contessa 2019 Texture Hairstylist of the Year

Surrey-based business donates $1M to hospital’s children centre improvements

Surrey Hospital Foundation kicks off campaign for ‘transformation’ of children’s centre

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Sunrise ceremony at B.C. legislature honours Louis Riel

Nov. 16 marks the 133th anniversary of the Métis leader’s death

5 to start your day

BC Hydro says outages have tripled in the last five years, two men charged after alleged butter thefts and more

California wildfire death toll hits 63

Sheriff says hundreds still missing in nation’s deadliest wildfire

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Trudeau to meet key Pacific trade partners at APEC leaders’ summit

Canada became one of the first six countries to ratify the CPTPP

Judge orders White House to return press pass to CNN’s Acosta

U.S. District Court Judge will decide on White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta

WikiLeaks chief could see charges, US court filing suggests

Charges against Julian Assange could help illuminate the question of whether Russia co-ordinated with the Trump campaign

Federal MPs denounce controversial Facebook post targeting Sajjan

Okanagan Conservatives apologize for controversial Facebook post

Most Read