Police discourage Surrey Creep Catcher style vigilantism after announcing child luring charges

Surrey's George Torresani charged with luring a child and transmitting sexually explicit material to a person under the age of 16.

George Torresani has been charged with luring a child and transmitting sexually explicit material to a person under the age of 16. He has been released on numerous conditions limiting his access to children and his use of the Internet

SURREY — Police are again discouraging vigilantism after announcing that a 48-year-old Surrey man has been charged with luring a child online.

Police say George Torresani performed a sex act on a web cam for a fictitious 13-year-old girl. He was arrested at his home on Aug. 9 and a search warrant was executed.

Torresani is charged with luring a child and transmitting sexually explicit material to a person under the age of 16. He has been released on numerous conditions limiting his access to children and his use of the Internet, pending his first court appearance.

Police say the bust is one of numerous cases investigated by the BC Integrated Child Exploitation (BC ICE) Unit’s Online Covert Investigations Team (OCI). The OCI is a group of sex crimes investigator who seek to “identify, engage with, and subsequently prosecute the worst of the worst offenders – adults who are looking to meet children on the internet for a sexual purpose.”

The charges come after a Surrey chapter of Creep Catchers has been making headlines in the region. Creep Catchers is a national group that aims to weed out “potential predators” and “blast” them in social media.

Thousands of people have seen Surrey Creep Catchers footage online, through YouTube and Facebook.

SEE ALSO: Ryan LaForge aims to weed out ‘potential predators’ and ‘blast’ them on social media

Sergeant Hernan Topacio, who heads up the BC ICE unit, has “serious” concerns with this kind of “vigilante phenomenon.”

“The police do absolutely recognize the need to pursue individuals who look to prey on our children. However, given the tremendous risks for public safety should these vigilante confrontations go horribly wrong, or for the true predators to walk away without being prosecuted, this is a job that should be left to the police,” said Topacio in a release.

“We acknowledge we have a common goal with vigilante groups in identifying child predators,” he added. “Having been in the BC ICE team for a number of years now, I know from experience that perpetrators will not stop targeting children simply by being identified publicly through social media or other means. The greater focus needs to be placed in identifying and rescuing victims and ensuring that perpetrators are not able to victimize further. Any effort should certainly extend beyond just the initial public identification.”

The BC ICE warns that the public should know the law is strict with regards to how these types are investigated – and what evidence is required for a successful prosecution. Crimes must be reported to police and the complainant should be prepared to assist police by providing a statement and any evidence contained on electronic devices, as well as online accounts used.

OUR VIEW: Surrey’s Creep Catcher has struck a chord with community

In a recent exclusive interview with the Now, Surrey’s Creep Catcher Ryan LaForge said he wishes police would work with him.

“The police, I want them to step their mandate up and have a change so they’re allowed to contact us and say, ‘Hey, we want your evidence.’ Not just because someone’s complaining,” said LaForge, who claims police don’t contact him until one of the targets contacts them claiming harassment. “What kind of crazy world do we live in?

“As far as the courts go, I want them to stop looking at it like it’s just like a job. I want them to see that it’s life. We’re talking about children. I don’t know if it’s the justice system, I mean it all boils down to our government, what’s wrong with our government? What’s wrong with our government that they can see this is happening, that the justice system is releasing these guys?”

The BC RCMP asks that if you are aware of any incidents of online child exploitation, you report it to your local police or through www.Cybertip.ca.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of Washington nest, first-ever in U.S.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Staff members at Surrey Pretrial test positive for COVID-19

Ministry of Public Safety says employees tested positive between Oct. 18 and 23

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read