by Andrew Fleming
A Surrey Mountie is facing charges after allegedly getting ensnared by a vigilante group who say the off-duty officer was looking online for the company a 14-year-old girl.
Const. Dario Devic has not formally been charged yet with communicating with a person who was under the age of 16 for the purposes of sexual interference or sexual touching, as well as breach of trust related to his duties.
His lawyer, Rishi Gill, said Devic plans to “vigorously defend” himself.
A group called Creep Catchers, who pose as kids online to lure men who potentially want their company, has videotaped several people in the last number of weeks.
Creep Catchers posted footage on Facebook Sept. 7 of what they claimed was an RCMP officer who the group had allegedly matched up with someone posing as a 14-year-old.
In the video, one of the Surrey Creep Catchers is heard shouting to the Mountie as officer Dan, a mistake for which they later apologized.
Gill said the conduct of the group is telling of the case before the courts
“It is particularly concerning that the `Surrey Creep Catchers’ have already mistakenly identified a police officer in this matter,” Gill said.
Police attended Central City Mall at 10 p.m. the same day when they saw on social media allegations of child luring and child exploitation.
The subject of the allegations turned out to be a Surrey RCMP officer.
“Last night (Thursday), as the investigation progressed, the suspect officer was arrested and he was taken into custody, where he currently remains,” RCMP Asst. Comm. Brenda Butterworth-Carr said Sept. 9. “A series of charges are pending.”
In June, Devic was among dozens of officers honoured for heroism and outstanding service during the Surrey RCMP’s 2016 Officer in Charge Awards ceremony.
– with files from Kevin Diakiw