Parents defend vigilantism against man under investigation for child luring
Warning: The details of this story and coarse language references may be disturbing to some readers.
Vancouver Island parents say they believe they were doing the right thing when they tackled and restrained a man they allege was in their Port Alberni home to have sex with their underage daughter.
RCMP officers responded to a call about a disturbance at a residence in the 3600-block of Bruce Street shortly before 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
Mounties arrived to find a 28-year-old man who's being investigated for child luring had been restrained "as a result of vigilante actions."
The incident was captured in a Facebook Live video moments after it happened.
"He come to my house to meet my 13-year-old f***ing daughter to f***k her. He wanted to be her first," the woman behind the camera can be heard saying. "We f***ing tackled him and zap strapped him and called the police."
In the video, a man can be seen face-down on the floor with his feet and hands bound behind his back.
When police arrived, they freed the man and took him to hospital. Mounties say he hasn't been charged.
In an interview with CTV News Friday, the mother, who is not being identified to protect the identity of her daughter, alleged she'd noticed explicit messages being sent to her daughter's Instagram account, which is controlled from her phone, about six weeks before the incident. She said she'd been trying to get the police involved since.
"They wouldn't even look at my phone. They just said to block him and forget it," she said. "I've been waiting for six weeks for the police to give me a name behind the Instagram account."
Desperate for a solution, she said she posed as her daughter and messaged the man to invite him to her home.
"I just didn't know what else to do," she said. "I knew that Friday's coming…and if it is who I thought it was, then he needed to be stopped."
The mother said she asked police to come to her home before the man arrived, hopeful that "they would go meet this guy and catch him so that I didn't have to do anything," but claimed authorities wouldn't help.
She said she confronted the man as he made his way to her daughter's room, punching him before the girl's stepfather and another man restrained him.
Police arrived after 15 or 20 minutes, the woman said Friday, and told the three people allegedly involved in restraining the man that they would be detained for assault.
The day after the incident, Mounties said those involved are being investigated for criminal offences including assault causing bodily harm and forcible confinement.
"I'm arrested because we caught a predator the police refused to catch," the woman says at the end of the video, turning the camera towards herself.
Police wouldn't comment on the footage, but Cpl. Amelia Hayden confirmed Friday that the woman had visited the local RCMP detachment and told authorities that the man was allegedly trying to visit her underage daughter.
"The police had directed her not to take matters into her own hands, that we were investigating it," Hayden said. "She was directed not to make the meet happen."
The corporal said the man who was restrained has been under investigation since March, but Thursday's events may have compromised police efforts.
"Vigilante actions like these are not only illegal and put people in danger, but they also have the potential to compromise the original investigation," Hayden said. "It hasn't resolved one issue—it's caused another and put people in danger, everybody."
The mother and stepfather said they're concerned about the potential charges against them, but that they were left with no choice.
"I'm kind of disgusted by the system myself, in that she went in begging for help yesterday," the stepfather said. "She's been asking for help from the police for the last six weeks for this and not really anything's happened. I didn't know what to do yesterday, right?"
The couple said they felt it was important to document the alleged incident on social media to inform other parents in the small community about an alleged predator.
"At least now, everybody that knows him…they can protect their own kids because they know what's going on," he said. "That's all that we wanted—was just to be able to protect the kids."
Hayden said the original child luring investigation is ongoing.
With from CTV's Julie Nolin and Jeff Lawrence