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 sentenced to house arrest
A former Kamloops sheriff who was caught in a Creep Hunters sting sending sexually explicit messages to a person who claimed to be 14 will spend four months under house arrest.

In August 2016, Kevin Johnston engaged in a 19-day, back-and-forth text conversation with a person he met on Craigslist. The person told Johnston she was 14 years old, but she was in fact an adult member of the Creep Hunters, a vigilante group who pose as underage girls to catch would-be pedophiles.

In October 2017, Johnstons creepery was deemed by the courts to have violated the Deputy Sheriffs Code of Conduct, which prohibits a deputy from using their position to advance private interests and becoming engaged in any activity that may result in criminal charges or convictions. Stripped of legal jargon, this roughly translates to Johnston having used his policeman powers to further his mission to have sex with a teenager, which is not allowed.

The Creep Hunters posted images online of text conversations between Johnston and the fictional 14-year-old. Many of the messages were sexual in nature and the Creep Hunters said the man sent naked photos of himself.

“I should not have been sending you any naked pics,” Johnston says in the released Creep Hunters messages. “The other ones are ok, but I do not want you to think I was taking advantage of you due to your age.”

Over the past couple years, predator shaming groups like Creep Catchers have developed something of a reputation for their legally problematic dealings with those they suspect may be pedophiles. Theyve been slammed for interfering with police investigations, employing controversial shaming tactics, and even assaulting people during stings.

Johnston, 47 at the time, was charged in September 2016 with telecommunicating to lure a child under 16, making sexually explicit material available to a person under 16 and arranging a sexual offence against a child.

Johnston pleaded guilty to breach of trust by a police officer, avoiding more serious charges like telecommuting to lure a child under 16, sharing sexually explicit material with a person under 15, and arranging/agreeing on a sexual offense against a child—all things he was originally charged with.

Last month, in a plea deal struck with the Crown, Johnston pleaded guilty to breach of trust of a public officer and on Tuesday, the Crown dropped this other charges.

As part of the plea deal, Crown and defence submitted a joint sentencing position of a one-year sentence served in the community, with four months to be served as house arrest.

In August 2016, Kevin Johnston began communicating online with a 14-year-old girl named Steph after he saw an ad she posted on Craigslist. (Of course it was Craigslist.) But Steph was not actually Steph. Steph was Jennifer Carter, one of the aforementioned pedo hunters.

On Tuesday, Justice Michelle Daneliuk followed the joint submission, sentencing Johnston to the one-year conditional sentence. Breach of trust of a public officer carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail. 

According to an agreed statement of facts filed last Monday, Johnston also sent several dick pics, a full-frontal nude, and some locker room photos of himself—uniform-clad—to Steph, further proving that nothing good ever happens in locker rooms.

In her sentencing, Justice Daneliuk said Johnston “intentionally engaged in highly sexualized communications in a manner in which he was, at the very best, reckless as to whether the recipient was an adult or a young person of only 14 years.”

But all I can say is, thank god Steph isnt a real person. Because given the current socio-political climate and the courts common practice of acquitting alleged sexual abusers, who knows if she would have been believed.

Johnston's text-message relationship with the fictional child culminated in him driving from Kamloops to Kelowna to meet her, where he was confronted by the Creep Hunters.

So even though this dirtbag will be on house arrest for the next four months, hes still managed to avoid jail time, an outcome I doubt the vigilantes who caught him would be wholly satisfied with.

While Johnston's defence counsel had argued there was “nothing nefarious” about this plan, Justice Daneliuk disagreed.

According to a statement that Carter gave Kelowna Mounties, her online convo with Johnston became sexual after she feigned excitement over the fact that he was a cop.

“The discussions about meeting were immediately followed by comments about the use of a sex toy and Mr. Johnston wanted photos of her,” Justice Daneliuk said, adding Johnston told her she would have to “act like my niece” when they were in public together.

Despite these aggravating factors, Justice Daneliuk said Johnston is a “good prospect for full rehabilitation,” whose reputation has been completely destroyed through public shaming.  

Slut shaming. Abuse of power. Suggestion of statutory rape. Aggressive punctuation. Things got even worse.

“These groups are not condoned by law enforcement … this court also does not condone the actions of these groups. Apprehending individuals committing criminal offences should be left exclusively to law enforcement,” Justice Daneliuk said, adding that vigilante groups are “dangerous to citizens and interfere with the administration of justice.”

Johnston will spend the next four months under house arrest at his home on Vancouver Island, followed by eight months of living with a curfew from midnight to 6 a.m. He was also given 100 hours of community service.

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

KELOWNA, B.C. — A former Kamloops sheriff was sentenced to one year of house arrest Tuesday, after a vigilante group caught him trying 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 the breach of trust charge 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.

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