A member of the Red Deer Creep Catchers group has been found guilty in relation to an incident that took place last year in Lacombe.
Carl Young, also known as Karl Murphy, was found guilty on one count of criminal harassment in Red Deer Provincial Court on Monday. A count of mischief against Young was dropped by the Crown.
Lacombe Police said Young targeted another individual using vigilante-type tactics and lured him into meeting without justification or facts. Following the Nov. 23, 2016 incident, Young, who is 38, was released on conditions to have no contact with the alleged victim and not to access or use any computer or cell phone except for work purposes. Those conditions have remained in place ever since.
Young’s trial took place in Red Deer in August. Court heard that he met with Jaden Rajah, 24, in Lacombe early on Nov. 23. Young, who took video of the encounter using a cell phone, accused Rajah of illegal acts with minors. Rajah adamantly denied any wrongdoing. Young posted the video online the next day.
Court heard Young and Rajah had been in contact through the online app Grindr several times leading up to the incident. Young had been posing as a teenage boy named “Tanner” and claimed to be 18-years-old before later saying he was 15. Young then arranged to meet Rajah, who testified at the trial that his intention was to watch a movie with the teen.
Rajah, who was actively involved in LGBTQ support groups before his encounter with Young, testified he has a non-verbal learning disability that makes it difficult for him to pick up on social cues.
Rajah was not in court for Monday’s verdict. His father Eric read his victim impact statement on his behalf.
“You changed my life for the worse,” the statement read. “What you did made to me made me struggle with paranoia [and] cause me to live in fear.”
Rajah also said in his statement that he had suicidal thoughts following his encounter with Young.
“You made me feel that no one loves me and that I am pointless.”
Young, who’s been unemployed since the incident, has moved to the Columbia Valley area of B.C.
The Crown is seeking 12 months’ probations for Young with conditions that he report regularly to a probation officer, have no contact with Rajah or his family, not possess any weapons, and, most notably, not possess or use any device capable of connecting to the internet.
Maurice Collard, Young’s defence lawyer asked that he receive only a fine for his conviction, saying the year in which he’s already been living under court ordered conditions has been punishment enough.
“His motivation while framed as vigilantism was to protect other people from exploitation,” Collard pleaded.
Judge Darrell Riemer will announce Young’s sentence on Jan. 22.
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