A Twitter account containing images of non-consenting women with about 17,000 followers has led to an arrest of a 42-year-old man in Calgary, Alberta. The account in question, named "Canada Creep" (handle: @CanadaCreep) existed for about a year before news broke this week about the numerous women who'd been victimized by having photos and/or videos of them posted and the Twitter account was suspended. The account also posted at least one video of an underage girl, a 14-year-old who was cosplaying.
Jeffrey Robert Williamson of Calgary was arrested in connection to the Twitter account at about 5 PM in the Prestwick area on Tuesday, is currently in custody, and has been charged with "three counts each of voyeurism and publication of voyeuristic recordings" related to three incidents, according to police. Investigators are looking at "multiple terabytes of data" contained on multiple seized electronic devices—including hundreds of thousands of images.
The account, which had over 500 posts before being suspended, contained both photos and videos taken in Calgary, including in the downtown area, at fandom convention Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, and at an indoor pool. Many images focused on victims' backsides and/or genital areas, including up-skirt shots.
Alexandra Constantinidis, 22, was one of the victims. She had a 45-second clip taken of her last Friday non-consensually from behind when she was walking several blocks to get lunch, which was posted on the account. "I got home on Monday night, about a half-dozen people started texting me… I was pretty shocked that something like this had happened in Calgary—I immediately contacted police," she told VICE.
"It's shocking and disgusting: These videos have been seen and shared thousands and thousands of times," Constantinidis said. The fact that 17,000 people have condoned and encouraged it in a way by being followers… In regards to Twitter, it doesn't show anything good about it."
Constantinidis said she noticed on numerous of CanadaCreep's posts that people had said they were reporting the account and that it was "shocking" that the account had been up and active since June 2016. When it came to police's response, however, Constantinidis was impressed with how quickly they got the account shut down—which happened the following day.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Calgary Police Service Staff Sgt. Cory Dayley said police were especially concerned with images that could cross into criminal territory, like those depicting women's bodies "underneath a layer of clothing."
"What's extremely alarming to me, personally, is that this amount of content is out there and it has become this much of a social norm to people to not only see it, but just bypass it in their everyday searches online," Dayley said.
A mother of an underage victim of the CanadaCreep account gave an interview to Postmedia—her name was not published to protect her daughter's identity. "I got a phone call this morning from a friend at 7 AM, who said, 'Your daughter's all over the web,'" she said. "He focused on her face for probably a good ten seconds… She then walked away, and he followed her and her friends through the comic con."
For Constantinidis, she'd like to see criminal charges against the individual responsible. She also supports banning him from the comic convention where he filmed the 14-year-old. "There should be justice for these other women, protection for them… It's degrading and humiliating."
Police said in a statement that more charges are expected and that the investigation is ongoing. Victims who've identified themselves in CanadaCreep's posts are asked to contact the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.
If you are a victim and would like to contact a crisis line, you can reach out to the 24-hour Distress Centre at 403-266-HELP (4357).
This article has been updated to reflect new information from police.
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