EXCLUSIVE: Mississauga man poses as child online to expose suspected predators
Posted July 9, 2015 7:00 pm.
Last Updated July 10, 2015 3:40 pm.
This article is more than 5 years old.
On the silver screen, Dirty Harry wielded a large gun and a murderous glare when he took the law into his own hands to mete out justice. But in the GTA a self-made vigilante is staging an all-too-real war on suspected pedophiles, armed only with a camera, steely nerves and the glaring spotlight of social media.
Justin, 28, works construction during the day. But at night he poses as a young boy or girl on popular adult dating websites, luring suspected pedophiles to parking lots across the GTA, where he confronts and records them.
He then posts their images and videos on his Facebook page, where he’s amassed thousands of followers, with many calling him a hero.
But not everyone is a fan. Since his story aired on CityNews, Justin says he’s received death threats from some of his targets and he’s made his Facebook page private while he irons out how to continue his quest in a safe manner.
The Mississauga man says his crusade to protect children started about a year ago as a light-hearted experiment.
One day he posed as a 13-year-old girl named Jennifer and began speaking to a man online. “I was curious just to see what would happen,” he admitted.
When that man drove nearly two hours to meet who he thought was a young girl, the reality of the situation sunk in and what began as a prank quickly ballooned into his life calling.
“I was just heartbroken and shocked that somebody would do that,” he said. “That’s where it started.”
Using photos of himself as a young boy, or of female friends with their permission when posing as a 12 or 13-year-old girl, Justin began creating numerous dating profiles online.
“My profile says 25 is my age, but my picture looks like I am 11,” he explained.
“When I first get a message, I always say I’m 11 turning 12, or 13 turning 14. I make it clear I’m a kid and they still continue to message me.”
“I get hundreds and hundreds of messages, I can’t even keep up with the messages,” he adds.
Justin says the men range in age from their 20s to 40s and the language they use quickly becomes extremely graphic and disturbing.
He says he’s baited around 30 to 35 men, capturing about a dozen of them on video. Some of the confrontations have led to arrests.
“The second one I did was at a grocery store parking lot and the guy was about 43 years old and had shown up to meet Jennifer,” he recalls. “I confronted him, made my little video and called police and stood in front of his car so that he wouldn’t leave.”
“Charges were laid against him. He actually had child porn on his laptop computer,” he revealed.
Since his first online post, Justin has been inundated with people sharing their stories of childhood sexual abuse.
“I’ve gotten hundreds of messages in my Facebook inbox from girls and boys messaging me, saying ‘thank you..someone is finally doing something.’ ”
“I can’t sit by and let something like this happen to anybody ever again,” he insists.
On Wednesday night, Justin posed as a 13-year-old boy and lured a man to a parking lot in Mississauga, eventually confronting him while CityNews cameras rolled. (see below)
While many applaud his actions, attorney Ari Goldkind says Justin is not only putting himself at risk but could even be breaking the law.
“The law does not allow vigilante justice,” Goldkind stressed. “This has all of the hallmarks of an eye for an eye or luring somebody into some plot and when I see the video of the man jumping onto the car, warning bells go off.”
“While we are all completely against pedophilia no matter which side of the fence we are on, this guy could have been charged himself with luring. He’s on the internet posing as a 12-year-old.”
Justin says the risks are worth it if he can save even one child from a potential predator.
“The thing that I think about the most is that child (that’s) going to lose their innocence. So if I have to get punched in the face…If I have to be emotionally scarred for a few days, I’ll do that to save somebody else the years and years of pain and suffering.”