VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Two separate lawsuits have been filed in BC Supreme Court against the head of the vigilante group Surrey Creep Catchers.
The group is part of a loose collection of similar organizations across Canada that aim to expose people they allege are child sexual predators by posing as minors, arranging to meet their targets, and then sharing footage of the confrontation on the Internet.
A notice of claim filed by Campbell River resident Sean Smith on March 16th alleges the Surrey group’s president Ryan LaForge defamed Smith by sharing a series of public posts labelling him as a pedophile.
The claim alleges subsequent posts on Facebook by 10 users of the social media site threatened Smith with death or bodily harm.
Smith, who is a social media educator, says he took issue with creep catchers because the group’s practices are at odds with what he teaches people about online etiquette.
“The social media shaming, the accusations that are unfounded, the incitement of a social media mob to attack a person. The fact that what you post online today will never go away because the internet never forgets. It was everything that is not right about social media.’
An earlier lawsuit filed by Abbotsford resident Jamie Su alleges LaForge defamed him by publishing Facebook posts that wrongly insinuated he was procuring sexual relations with a minor.
LaForge denies the defamation allegations, saying he has the freedom to state his opinion.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.