Surrey Creep Catchers president being sued for defamation again
The president of Surrey Creep Catcher is facing another defamation lawsuit, this time from a Campbell River man who said he was identified as a “pedophile” in a series of Facebook posts.
Ryan LaForge and others identified only as “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” are being sued by Sean Smith, a social media consultant and educator who has claimed that LaForge made some posts on social media that identified him with terms such as “pedo” and “creep.”
In early December, Smith posted a video on Facebook that criticized the activities of “creep catchers,” who lure people using ads on adult dating sites and then reveal they’re not adults, but children, said a notice of civil claim.
If the person keeps conversing with the individual online, then they’re identified as a target, he said. Such targets are then outed in sting operations that identify them as child sexual predators.
Around the same time that Smith posted his video, LaForge published a number of posts that tagged him with labels reserved for pedophiles, such as “goof” and “skinner,” the notice said.
One of the posts used a screenshot from Smith’s video with the words, “What’s a pedo even look like? Oh yeah, this guy…,” the notice said.
Yet another post used the same screenshot with the words, “I love the smell… of kids in the morning,” it added.
“The plain and ordinary meaning, both directly and as innuendo, of the defamatory posts was to indicate that the plaintiff was a child sexual predator, with the further suggestion that this was motivating his opposition to the creep catcher ‘movement,'” the notice read.
The posts were “false and were made deliberately and maliciously by LaForge knowing them to be untrue or with reckless disregard for their falsity,” it said.
The notice went on to say that, while LaForge made further posts “purporting to apologize” for indicating that Smith was a pedophile, he has made “no efforts at all” to remove the posts from social media pages in his control.
“Bring it on”
Responding to the lawsuit, LaForge told CKNW: “Bring it on.”
He also said he “never once called [Smith] a pedophile, I said he looks like one.”
He went on to say he would “never” take down the posts that feature Smith and accused the plaintiff of having a “man crush on me.”
“All we do is catch creeps, right, and all he does is when we catch a creep, goes on his pages and talks about it, talks about me,” LaForge said.
“So every once in a while, I’ll get annoyed with something he’s made an accusation of, or a claim, and I’ll go live, and I’ll tell him to **** off, you know what I mean?”
Smith is seeking damages “in an amount to be determined” by the court.
He also wants an injunction prohibiting future publication of the posts and any other defamatory statements about him.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
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This is not, however, the first time that Surrey Creep Catcher has come to the attention of the courts, or the provincial government.
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, B.C.’s privacy watchdog, is investigating the group after a complaint was filed by a member of the public.
LaForge is also facing another lawsuit from an individual who claims that the Surrey Creep Catcher president used “defamatory words to the effect of indicating that the plaintiff was involved in a scheme to procure sexual relations with an underaged female.”
- With files from Simon Little, CKNW
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