Former Kamloops sheriff to be sentenced in Kelowna today

Former Kamloops sheriff to be sentenced in Kelowna today
Former Kamloops sheriff caught in sex-related sting to be sentenced today
Kevin Johnston, 50, was caught up in a sting by the Creep Catchers, a group of citizens that attempts to catch alleged sex offenders.

Kevin Johnston, 50, was employed in Kamloops as a deputy with the B.C. Sheriff Service when he was arrested. FACEBOOK

A former Kamloops sheriff was sentenced to one year of house arrest Tuesday, after a vigilante group caught him attempting to arrange a sexual encounter with someone pretending to be a teenage girl.

Kevin Johnston, 50, was caught up in a sting by the Creep Catchers, a group of citizens that attempts to catch alleged sex offenders.

Johnston believed he was communicating with a 14-year-old girl, when in fact it was a woman from the group.

He was arrested in 2016 and charged with telecommunicating to lure a child under 16, making sexually explicit material available to a child under 16, arranging a sexual offence against a child and breach of trust by a public officer.

Johnston previously pleaded guilty to breach of trust by a public officer and he appeared in a Kelowna court Tuesday for sentencing.

He used his position as a deputy sheriff to influence the person he thought to be a teenage girl, Judge Michelle Daneliuk said in court Tuesday.

Mr. Johnston intentionally engaged in highly sexualized communications in a manner in which he was . . . reckless as to whether the recipient was an adult or a younger person of only 14 years, said Daneliuk. As well, he cultivated this . . . friendship with someone who created the persona of an individual who was vulnerable in that she was new to her community, she had no friends, she was lonely, she pretended to Mr. Johnston that she was left alone by her mother for days at a time.

Crown and defence presented a joint submission of a 12-month conditional sentence, to be served as house arrest.

For the first four months of his sentence, Johnston must remain inside his house or on his property 24 hours a day, with several exceptions.

He is also permitted to leave the house with permission for the purpose of completing the 100 hours of community service that must be done by Oct. 5, 2019.

He is allowed out for 2.5 hours a day from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for the purpose of daily errands such as shopping and exercise.

For the last eight months of his sentence, Johnston is bound by a curfew from midnight to 6 a.m., except in the case of employment or a medical emergency.

During his sentence, Johnston is not to have any communication with nor be alone in the presence of any female under the age of 18 years, except in the company of an adult or in the course of a routine commercial transaction in a public place.

He must not access any social media sites and must not communicate with anyone under the age of 18 through a social networking site.

He is not to consume or possess any alcohol or drugs and he was ordered to pay a victim fine surcharge of $200.

Mr. Johnston has demonstrated considerable insight into his offending behaviour and a willingness to take the necessary steps to ensure this will not happen in the future.

Kevin Johnston pleaded guilty to breach of trust last month, after being caught in an August 2016 online sting when he sent inappropriate messages to who he thought was an underage girl.

Both Crown and defence lawyers asked for a conditional sentence order for Johnston in last months hearing — an order which usually includes a period of house arrest.

Johnston was originally facing charges of telecommunication to lure a child under 16 years old, making sexually explicit material available to a person under 16, and arrange or agree on a sexual offence against a child.

The charges came after a sting produced by the Kelowna Creep Hunters group, which imitated underage people online to expose potential predators.