It’s been a while since we’ve heard much about vigilante pedophile hunters in Canada, perhaps because of a certain Creep Catcher’s conviction earlier this year, but now a spinoff group calling themselves “Kelowna Creep Hunters” can claim some victory (or at least some approximation of it) after a 2016 sting led to a sheriff’s one-year conditional sentence.
In August 2016, Kevin Johnston began communicating online with a 14-year-old girl named “Steph” after he saw an ad she posted on Craigslist. (Of course it was Craigslist.) But Steph was not actually Steph. Steph was Jennifer Carter, one of the aforementioned pedo hunters.
According to a statement that Carter gave Kelowna Mounties, her online convo with Johnston became sexual after she feigned excitement over the fact that he was a cop.
“OMG ur a cop?” she wrote on August 9, 2016.
Johnston, 50, responded with the following piece of filth:
"I am a sheriff! You should not have sex just to keep up with the other girls!! Your first time should be with someone special."
Slut shaming. Abuse of power. Suggestion of statutory rape. Aggressive punctuation. Things got even worse.
According to an agreed statement of facts filed last Monday, Johnston also sent several dick pics, a full-frontal nude, and some locker room photos of himself—uniform-clad—to Steph, further proving that nothing good ever happens in locker rooms.
Then, on August 27, Johnston drove the 165 km from Kamloops to Kelowna to meet his teenage prey at a strip mall. Upon arrival, he was confronted instead by the Creep Hunters, who videotaped the altercation and posted it to Facebook. The video has since been made unavailable to the public.
In October 2017, Johnston’s creepery was deemed by the courts to have violated the Deputy Sheriffs’ Code of Conduct, which prohibits a deputy from using their position to advance “private interests” and “becoming engaged in any activity that may result in criminal charges or convictions.” Stripped of legal jargon, this roughly translates to Johnston having used his policeman powers to further his mission to have sex with a teenager, which is not allowed.
Johnston pleaded guilty to breach of trust by a police officer, avoiding more serious charges like telecommuting to lure a child under 16, sharing sexually explicit material with a person under 15, and arranging/agreeing on a sexual offense against a child—all things he was originally charged with.
So even though this dirtbag will be on house arrest for the next four months, he’s still managed to avoid jail time, an outcome I doubt the vigilantes who caught him would be wholly satisfied with.
Over the past couple years, predator shaming groups like Creep Catchers have developed something of a reputation for their legally problematic dealings with those they suspect may be pedophiles. They’ve been slammed for interfering with police investigations, employing controversial shaming tactics, and even assaulting people during stings.
But all I can say is, thank god “Steph” isn’t a real person. Because given the current socio-political climate and the court’s common practice of acquitting alleged sexual abusers, who knows if she would have been believed.
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