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article imageFormer B.C. deputy sheriff caught in underage sex sting

By Arthur Weinreb     Sep 14, 2016 in Crime
Kelowna - For the second time in less than a week, it has been announced a person has been caught in a sting conducted by a B.C. vigilante group. It is alleged a former sheriff tried to meet a 14-year-old girl to have sex.
Yesterday, the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Justice announced four charges have been laid against Kevin Johnston, a former deputy sheriff in Kamloops. Johnston faces three counts of communicating with a person believed to be a minor for the purpose of facilitating a sexual offence and one count of invitation to sexual touching.
In British Columbia, a person cannot be formally charged with an offence unless the charge if formally approved by a prosecutor.
The offences are alleged to have been committed on Aug. 8 and 27 in the areas of Kamloops and Kelowna. It is alleged Johnston was communicating online with a vigilante group called Creep Hunters, based out of the Okanagan. A member of the group posed as a 14-year-old girl and arranged to meet Johnston in order to have sex.
When the former deputy sheriff showed up at the designated meeting place, he was met by members of Creep Hunters and video was taken of his arrival and later flight. Creep Hunters then posted the video on their Facebook page. After the posting, the RCMP learned of the incident and began an investigation on Sept. 1. As Johnston worked for the Ministry of Justice at the time of the alleged offences, Michael Tammen, a Vancouver lawyer, was appointed as a special prosecutor to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
As Digital Journal reported, an announcement was made on Saturday that a member of the RCMP was arrested after a similar sting was conducted by another group, Creep Catchers, in Surrey. The name of the Mountie has not yet been released as formal charges are still awaiting approval. The allegations in the two cases are similar; both men thought they were meeting a 14-year-old girl in order to have sex.
After the video of Johnston was posted on Facebook, the RCMP reiterated their opposition to these vigilante groups. The Mounties are against public shaming and say members of the public can be put at risk by these stings. They also warn these stings tend to slow down the prosecution of suspects. Law enforcement officials say anyone who encounters a sexual predator online should call police instead of arranging a meeting.
Johnston is scheduled to appear in court on the charges on Oct. 20.
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