A self-described vigilante pedophile hunter has been convicted of criminal harassment after he confronted a young gay man last year and posted the encounter online.
Last November Carl Young, 38, a member of predator shaming group Red Deer Creep Catchers, met up with a 24-year-old man from Lacombe, Alberta and accused him of being a creep. Young had posed as an 18-year-old boy on Grindr but when in conversation with the man, Young told him he was in fact 15. According to their chat logs, which remain posted online, the man said he wouldn’t mind having the teen over for a movie “just as friends.” At no point in the conversation did he express a sexual interest in the teen.
When Young confronted him and revealed that he was a part of Red Deer Creep Catchers, the young man explained that he ran two support groups for LGBT teens. “You can trust me, I am not a creep,” he said in the video, which is also still online.
Young replied, “you know it’s illegal to bring a 15-year-old over to your house for the night?”
At that point the man started crying.
Young claimed (as many Creep Catchers do) that he was recording the encounter to protect both of them.
"Do you realize what you were doing was illegal?," he added.
In tears, the man said, “I am gay but I’m not a pedophile. I was abused but I don’t have nightmares about abusing other kids.”
“I haven’t even said anything sexually to you,” he continued. Young didn't refute this.
But it turns out Young’s behaviour was illegal.
According to the Red Deer Advocate, Young's target wrote in one of his victim impact statements, “So many times the video made me feel that taking my life was the only option” and spoke of how he’d been harassed after it was made public. He also reportedly testified that his learning disability makes it hard for him to pick up on social cues. He now lives with his father in BC.
"This has really ruined someone’s life," said crown prosecutor Katie Clarey during the trial.
She recommended Young be fined and given a year of probation during which time he should be banned from having devices with internet access (except for at work), and barred from contacting the man. Young’s defence argued a fine is sufficient.
Young will be sentenced in January.
A CTV investigation in February also found that Young had an outstanding arrest warrant in New Brunswick for allegedly trafficking cocaine and ecstasy.
A VICE investigation from January found that many so-called pedophile hunters were doing stings on people with mental health issues and cognitive and physical disabilities.
A transgender Edmonton woman, Katelynn McKnight died by suicide after being shamed online by a local Creep Catchers outfit.
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