A former member of Edmonton Creep Catchers is speaking out against the vigilante group’s tactics after it posted a video of a woman who later took her own life.
Creep Catchers accused Katelynn McKnight of being a child sexual predator. McKnight, who had mental health issues, committed suicide Sept. 7.
“When I watched a video of a clearly mentally ill individual… being blasted online, facing tons of social media attention, I felt that was really inappropriate,” said Kim, the former member. She said she was ridiculed after voicing her concerns to Creep Catchers about posting the video and left the group. Global News is protecting her identity because she fears further backlash.
Kim was a victim of sexual assault herself and first joined because she wanted to help keep predators off the street.
“I feel like these guys have a really big heart and their hearts are definitely in the right place. I just don’t know if all the aspects of catching people are the right way to do things.”
She said the McKnight video made her uncomfortable.
“I feel like she didn’t quite get what she needed and she got a lot of hate instead.”
One of McKnight’s social workers called her a “victim” of Creep Catchers. While the group’s video didn’t create McKnight’s mental health issues, it made them much worse, Sheri De Vries said.
McKnight became suicidal after the video was first posted in April, she added. Social workers pleaded with Creep Catchers to remove the video and it was taken down – for five days.
The head of the Edmonton Creep Catchers chapter posted an online apology to McKnight and gave his word that the video had been taken down.
But it has since turned up on other websites and in a Creep Catcher Top 10 compilation video which was posted in August.
De Vries said having that video online again “would affect the rest of Katy’s short life.”
She remembers McKnight as kind, funny and sharp.
“She had a huge heart and cared so much for other people’s well-being. She could light up any room and we all have wonderful memories of her. My only hope is that others won’t be victimized as Katy was, and something like this will never happen again.”
Creep Catchers did not return requests for an interview. However, a member denied McKnight was targeted.
On Thursday, Creep Catchers member David Matthews wrote the following message on Facebook:
“Some people need to let the dead rest… if their was anything that leads the police to believe CC was or is responsible for the recent passing of a individual we will hear about it, Enough of these accusations. If you have valid proof that shows anyone taking their life directly cause of the CC organization go straight to the police this is not the time or place let her rest in peace.”