A member of a Creep Catchers vigilante group, who staged a video ambush of a former Lacombe man, was found guilty of criminal harassment Monday.
Red Deer provincial court Judge Darrell Riemer said Carl Young’s victim, Jaden Rajah, reasonably feared for his safety after Young confronted him in Lacombe around 1 a.m. on Nov. 23, 2016.
Young accused Rajah of illegal acts while taking a video of the encounter on his cellphone. The video was then posted online.
Riemer said he was convinced that Young knew he was harassing Rajah or was reckless or wilfully blind to the fact he was harassing his victim.
A second charge of mischief was dropped.
During Young’s trial last August, the court heard he and Rajah first made contact through websites. Young posed as an 18-year-old at first, but later said he was 15.
In a written submission referred to by the judge, the Crown prosecutor said Young had communicated with Rajah to gain his trust and had planned to meet him to ambush him in public and scare him with pedophile accusations.
In part of the six-minute video shown in court, an emotional Rajah told Young he would never hurt anyone, and he was not a creep.
He later contacted Young pleading with him to not post the video, telling him he feared he could get beaten up.
Jaden Rajah’s father, Eric, read in court a pair of victim impact statements from his son, who now lives in B.C.
Jaden said Young’s actions had changed his life and left him paranoid and fearful of being harassed and scared for his life.
“What you did to me that night caused me to live in fear,” Jaden wrote in a February 2017 statement.
In September, Jaden wrote a second statement saying that 10 months after the incident he was still terrified for his life, had suffered online abuse and the ordeal had ruined his chances of finding a job.
“So many times the video made me feel that taking my life was the only option,” he wrote.
Crown prosecutor Katie Clarey called for a fine and one year’s probation for Young. He should be prohibited from contacting his victim, have no access to phones or other devices that connect to the Internet except for work purposes and attend any counselling ordered by the probation officer.
“This has really ruined someone’s life,” said Clarey.
Defence lawyer Maurice Collard said a fine was sufficient punishment, considering Young, who also moved to B.C., had already been living under tight no-contact and no-Internet restrictions for a year as part of his release conditions.
Riemer said he will sentence Young on Jan. 22.