Innocent man dubbed a 'pedo' by Creep Catchers, lawsuit claims
A picture of Sean Smith was shared on the Surrey Creep Catchers' Facebook page on Dec. 8, 2016, resulting in threats against him and his family, according to a lawsuit.
Published Thursday, March 16, 2017 4:59PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 16, 2017 7:56PM PDT
The Surrey Creep Catchers are in hot water once again after allegedly labelling an innocent man a sexual predator on social media.
Sean Smith, a 48-year-old husband and father from Campbell River, was targeted on the vigilante group's Facebook page in December after he posted a video criticizing their methods, according to a lawsuit filed this week in B.C. Supreme Court.
His image was shared on the page twice, once with the words "What's a pedo even look like? Oh yeah, this guy…" superimposed around his face. The other said "I love the smell… of kids in the morning."
That kind of treatment is usually reserved for the people caught up in Creep Catchers' stings, but Smith, according to his lawsuit, was never targeted by the group.
"The plain and ordinary meaning, both indirectly and as innuendo, of the defamatory posts was to indicate that [Smith] was a child sex predator, with the further suggestion that this was motivating his opposition to the Creep Catcher 'movement,'" his claim reads.
The Surrey Creep Catchers' Facebook page had roughly 11,000 followers at the time. Even though the group's founder Ryan Laforge later posted an apology, the pictures of Smith remained online as of Thursday.
Even worse, the lawsuit alleges those posts were followed up with threats and intimidation against Smith by Creep Catchers' fans and members.
"I see this guy anywhere outside and I am going to break his f----- jaw," one wrote.
Another follower allegedly posted a picture of Smith's elderly mom, writing there would be "repercussions" for him criticizing the group. "Sister is easy to find as well," the Facebook user wrote, according to claim.
Smith works as a social media consultant and educator, which sometimes involves presenting to groups of children at school, and he believes the allegations levelled against him have damaged his reputation and financial interests.
He's seeking damages and a proper public retraction from Creep Catchers.
LaForge and 20 unnamed fans and members of the vigilante group are all listed as defendants in the suit. None of the allegations against them have been proven in court.