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

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

Image Surrey.ca
Surrey to pony up one-third of cost for Cloverdale lacrosse project in 2022

This will be at the Cloverdale Athletic Park at 64th Avenue and 168th Street

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Surrey’s Panorama Ridge Secondary. (Photo: listings.kaassociates.ca)
Police investigating assault with a weapon at Panorama Ridge Secondary in Surrey

School placed on a ‘hold and secure’ until safety of all students confirmed

B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Murder conviction upheld in case where Surrey mom was stabbed in front of her kids

Jury in 2017 found Tanpreet Kaur Athwal, aka Sonia Kaur Gill, guilty of first-degree murder in 2007 death of Amanpreet Bahia, 33

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Lorne Ginther

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on October 27, 2020. The City of Vancouver says it has purchased a former hotel at a major thoroughfare that can house about 65 units to accommodate homeless people. A joint news release by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and city says 2075 Kingsway, Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver, will be ready for accommodation this November. The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen also announced a $51.5 million Rapid Housing Initiative for Vancouver that is expected to create 135 new affordable homes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former Vancouver hotel to be converted to 65 units for homeless people by the fall

The former Days Inn on Kingsway will be ready to house people in November

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read