A senior staffer at Langley Township was videotaped by a “creep catcher” organization in Surrey after allegedly engaging in inappropriate online conversations with someone he thought was an underage teen girl.
The Safe Child Coalition, formerly known as Surrey Creep Catchers (SCC), videotaped a conversation with Bob Andrews, the economic development coordinator at the Township.
On the video, Andrews acknowledges that he had a series of online conversations with someone he thought was a girl. Andrews says he thought she was 18.
Screen captures of text conversations, allegedly between Andrews and the girl, show them discussing her turning 14.
“I know that it was a stupid thing to do,” Andrews says on the video, posted on the SCC website.
He said he made an appointment to meet the girl, “and then I sent a message to her and said that I wouldn’t.”
“Thursday night, I started thinking what am I doing, I shouldn’t even be doing that,” Andrews said on the video.
Ryan LaForge, head of the SCC, confirmed that he met and spoke to Andrews at Surrey’s Guildford Shopping Centre on Wednesday afternoon.
“He was there to give his side of the story as to his part in communications with a 13-year-old child – not to meet,” LaForge wrote in an email to the Langley Advance Times.
The “girl” was LaForge using an online alias, he said.
On the video, Andrews speaks for nearly half an hour to LaForge.
Surrey RCMP were unaware of a report being made to police of the incident, said spokesperson Cpl. Elenore Sturko.
LaForge said he would be sending information to the police.
Andrews is currently on leave from his job at the Township, according to Steve Scheepmaker, director of corporate administration at the Township.
“We recognize the seriousness of what has been alleged, and the Township will take steps, as appropriate, having regard for due process and in consideration of its role as an employer, the public interest, and the privacy rights of individuals,” Scheepmaker said in an email to the Advance Times.
“To our knowledge, there is no related RCMP investigation but the Township would cooperate fully if requested by the RCMP.”
The Advance Times attempted to contact Andrews by email and phone, but was unsuccessful.
The video was apparently posted Wednesday by LaForge, who founded Surrey Creep Catchers in 2016.
LaForge said in a 2016 interview that he and other SCC members pose as children online, arrange to meet adults who think they’ve been communicating with a child, and videotape the confrontations.
LaForge pleaded guilty to two counts of assault stemming from attempted “citizen’s arrests” of Creep Catcher targets in 2017, and he announced he would be pulling back from attempts to arrest people, but would not end the stings.
Some of the stings have resulted in police investigations, charges, and even convictions, including that of former Surrey RCMP officer Dario Devic, who pleaded guilty to breach of trust after a 2016 sting.
The group has drawn criticism from police and some government officials for its tactics.