'Creep Catchers' sting prompts Saint John Pride marshal to step down
A video circulating online of Saint John’s Pride marshal allegedly attempting to meet a 15-year-old boy has prompted his resignation.
On its Facebook page, Saint John Pride said Rev. James Crooks “voluntarily resigned” after the video from Creep Catchers allegedly showed him trying to meet up with the boy outside the YMCA in the city’s uptown.
“It is of the utmost importance to remember that the Canadian justice system guarantees everyone the right to due process: all parties are considered innocent until proven guilty,” the statement reads. “As such, we are ethically unable to comment on the matter in order to avoid compromising any individual’s fundamental legal rights.
“We understand the sensitivity of the subject at hand and kindly request that you please understand our first and only concern: providing a safe and enjoyable week of festivities for everyone.”
The statement also apologizes for a previous response from the committee, citing that it is “chaired entirely by volunteers: none of whom are public relations specialists,” and that it “would never advocate anyone or anything that clearly endangers any member of any individual or community.”
WATCH: Surrey Creep Catchers use force in another sting
Creep Catchers is an online organization dedicated to exposing and publicly shaming men who attempt to meet boys and girls for sex. Members use online dating websites and apps to disguise themselves as underage in an attempt to catch potential sexual predators and post the confrontation online uncensored.
In the video, the Creep Catchers member confronts 77-year-old Crooks in the YMCA parking lot, where the alleged meetup was supposed to take place.
Crooks said his intention was to sit down with the boy and make him feel more comfortable with his sexuality.
In a press release Thursday evening, the Saint John Police Force said they are aware of the Saint John Pride’s Facebook post and the concerns that could arise from it.
Saint John is in the midst of Pride Week celebrations, with the parade slated for Saturday. Saint John Pride said Crooks’ resignation will not impact the Pride Week schedule.