The president of Surrey Creep Catchers is looking forward to facing a defamation suit, a civil claim he says has no basis in fact.
“I welcome it,” Ryan LaForge told The Leader in an interview Wednesday. “It’s a good test for our justice system to see how they’re going to handle this.”
Members of the vigilante group post videos to publicly shame people they claim are child predators, garnering both praise and criticism by the public.
According to court records, Jamie Su, a resident of Abbotsford, alleges that LaForge “falsely and maliciously” communicated with him on Feb. 6.
The plaintiff claims LaForge took to Facebook with a video, saying the plaintiff was involved “in a scheme” to procure sex with an underaged girl, regardless of whether it was true.
The video was viewed 56,000 times, the suit says.
The plaintiff says their family’s business has been subject to ridicule, hatred and contempt since the video was posted, as well as suffering from personal embarrassment and humiliation.
None of the allegations have been proven in court and a statement of defence has not been filed.
LaForge told The Leader he hasn’t even been served with notice of the lawsuit yet and has only heard about it in the media.
He said people are only videotaped when they’ve chatted with a person who has identified themselves as underage and has agreed to meet with them.
“If you’re on the other end of our video, you’re in the wrong,” LaForge asserts. “And we have no problem in it being broadcasted.”
With respect to the work the group is doing, there appears to be no end in sight.
“It’s not slowing down,” LaForge said. “Just before Christmas, we started posing as 10-year-olds and we’ve caught 12 guys.”
Asked if there is any particular hot zone where they are finding alleged offenders, LaForge said it’s provincewide.
There is no word on when the defamation action will end up in court.
The vigilante group is also being investigated by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC).
OIPC spokesperson Jane Zatylny would only say a complaint had been made.
– with files from Ashley Wadhwani