A Surrey man has been arrested for allegedly luring someone he thought was 13 years old.
The Aug. 9 arrest at the man’s home followed weeks of chat that culminated with the man allegedly performing a sex act live via webcam. According to police, the man believed he was corresponding with a 13-year-old girl.
George Torresani, 48, has been arrested and is being charged with luring a child, 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 appearance.
In a news release dated Thursday evening and distributed Friday morning, police describe the file as “one of numerous cases proactively investigated by BC ICE (BC Integrated Child Exploitation) since the creation of its OCI (Online Covert Investigations) team in 2011.”
The investigators work to identify, engage with and prosecute adults who are looking to meet children on the Internet for a sexual purpose.
The release also notes recent media attention regarding a group that claims to be doing similar work, and cautions against civilians taking such actions.
“The police do absolutely recognize the need to pursue individuals who look to prey on our children,” said Sgt. Hernan Topacio. “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.
“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.”
Anyone aware of incidents of online child exploitation may report it to local police (in Surrey, call 604-599-0502; in White Rock, call 778-593-3600) or at www.Cybertip.ca