Quebec pedophile hunters face child pornography distribution charges

Pedophile hunters charged

Members of a self-proclaimed group of Quebec pedophile hunters have been arrested and face 38 charges including distribution of child pornography.

Gatineau police say six people were arrested Thursday as part of a crackdown on the vigilante group.

Five of the suspects, four men and a woman aged 24 to 27, face charges of distributing child pornography.

Some of them also face charges of intimidation and forcible confinement while a sixth suspect, a 40-year-old man from a nearby Western Quebec region, faces criminal harassment, intimidation and forcible confinement charges.

Police say the group's activities were widely advertised on social media with the alleged vigilantes filming their meetings with alleged pedophiles after contacting them online.

Const. Andrée East, a Gatineau police spokeswoman, says the distribution of child pornography charges relate to the methods that are alleged to have been used to corner suspects, using explicit photos faked to make it look like they were underage to lure people.

"There were exchanges of photos during conversations (online) and what the law says, when you share a photo, that it is explicit pornographic material and that you claim that it represents a person of age minor, even if it really isn't, it becomes child pornography," she said.

"It's considered as such, even if in truth it doesn't really represent the body of a minor person."

Police say they were informed of the group's activities in January and told those taking part that they didn't condone the methods and should stop.

None of the people targeted by the group have been charged, but some have filed police complaints.

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