A former North Surrey Minor Football coach who was the subject of a Surrey Creep Catchers sting in 2017 has been found guilty of one count of telecommunicating to lure a child under the age 16.
John Darrell Lerfold, 65, is expected to appear in Surrey provincial court on Tuesday (July 16) to set a date for sentencing.
Ryan LaForge, president of the vigilante group now known as Safe Child Coalition, said this is “the precedent that we needed.”
“This is going to show that there’s a judge out there that sees it for what it is,” said LaForge.
The controversial citizen’s group has drawn fire from law authorities and academics for its efforts to weed out “potential predators” by posing as children online, arranging to meet adults who think they’ve been communicating with a child, confronting them, filming them and then posting the videos on Facebook.
Jean McPherson, president of North Surrey Minor Football, said Lerfold left the organization in 2014 under circumstances “unrelated” to this.
Lerfold was arrested after a Creep Catcher “sting” at Guildford Town Centre on Oct. 1, 2017, after he was confronted by the group.
“He fled so it was a citizens’ arrest case,” LaForge said.
In Lerfold’s case, SCC posed as a ficticious 13-year-old girl, LaForge said.
“The set up was for at Walmart. I believe he took the bus there. He decided that he wanted to leave and then so I pursued him across 152nd over in behind the Starbucks in that little centre there and that’s where we waited for police.”
“Keep in mind that in the statute, child luring does come with a mandatory one year minimum sentencing. If the trial judge decides he’ll do five years, I’ll be even happier,” an elated LaForge told the Now-Leader.
“This is our justice system saying obviously what you’re doing, we found that this person is guilty of it so how many others are, you know what I mean?”
“There’s a bunch of open cases right now.”
According to Section 172.1 of Canada’s Criminal Code, governing internet luring, the Crown must prove an accused “believes” the person he or she was communicating with was a minor. A person found guilty of luring a minor on computer is “liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than ten years,” the code states.