Who Are The Creep Catchers?
The “Creep Catchers” are a self-proclaimed vigilante group who use the internet to bait alleged sexual predators (or “creeps”) into public rendez-vous where they can dramatically expose them. They film their ambushes and post the edits online for the world to see. To some, the Creep Catchers may seem heroic: they’re doing something about pedophila that the police and court systems seem to be missing. To others, the Creep Catchers seem like they’re abusing social media to gain a twisted popularity and sense of power. For more about the Creep Catchers, check out Link Magazine’s September 2017 article This Ain’t Justice… Or is it Just Us?
noun; plural noun: vigilantes
Vigilantes are defined as persons who voluntarily punish crime, and commit their own justice, sometimes without the direct help of the society’s legitimized legal systems. But what exactly does justice mean to vigilante groups? As a broad definition, justice stems from the need to have a fair and equal society.
Creep Catchers Timeline: What are the Major Events?
- Summer 2003- Perverted Justice, arguably the first online pedophile hunting organization, is created in the USA
- 2004-2007- Dateline NBC collaborates with Perverted Justice to create the popular American reality television show To Catch a Predator. The show inspires real life pedophile hunters.
- July 2014- Justin Payne, arguably Canada’s first pedophile hunter, begins filming and shaming his suspects in Brampton, Ontario
- September 2015- Dawson Raymond founded Creep Catchers Canada in Calgary, Alberta
***There are now more than 30 branches and spin-offs all across Canada***
- September 2016- Ryan LaForge, Surrey Creep Catchers president, wrongfully identifies an innocent Mountie (Dan Johnson) as a “creep”
- September 2016- Katelynn McKnight, a transwoman from Edmonton, commits suicide after a Creep Catcher conducted a sting operation at her house
- November 2016- Ryan LaForge, Surrey Creep Catchers president, conducts a controversial sting operation on a man with cerebral palsy on a scooter
- May 2017- Ryan LaForge, Surrey Creep Catchers president, is charged with two counts of assault
- September 6 2017- BC’s acting Privacy Commissioner Drew MacArthor orders Surrey Creep Catchers to take down and destroy all videos related to two complainants, or potentially pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines
What you should do if you suspect something…
- Instead of baiting people into crimes, try to confront people with conversation
- Talk with someone you trust, or a counsellor
- Contact legal authorities (police, non-emergency line, block watch)
Selenna loves creating change through written media platforms, and is thoroughly enjoying her experience with Link Magazine. She has also worked for the publishing organizations PRISM Magazine, Surrey Women’s Centre, Her Campus, Sojourners, and McCreary. Selenna has been published for her creative, academic, and journalistic writing. Selenna can be found travelling, doing ballet or yoga, and watching “Daria.”