Sherbrooke trio in trouble with the law for trying to shame would-be sex predators

A 24-year-old Sherbrooke man is facing punishment for posing as a teen girl on Facebook to lure potential sex predators to teach them a lesson.

Last summer, Bruce Foley and two friends, 28-year-old William Drapeau and 20-year-old Sarah Montagne, created the fake Facebook profile and sent it to meetup sites.

Foley told the Journal de Montréal over the weekend he created the page because he was appalled at the number of online pedophiles and, taking a page from Chris Hansen's Dateline NBC shows from a decade ago, wanted to catch some of them in the act of trying to solicit teens for sex, and then film them in the act.

But while Hansen's To Catch a Predator series was carried out in conjunction with local law enforcement, in this case, Foley and his associates operated on their own — and to his dismay, it's Foley who's in trouble with the law.

Foley and his associates intended to catch his would-be predators in the act, and post the interventions on social media in an effort to shame them. No physical violence was ever carried out.

But two of the would-be predators filed complaints with police, which led to the trio's arrest on charges of criminal harassment. Last week, Foley and Drapeau were found guilty on the charge, and will now have to perform community service. The third person in the scheme, Montagne, got an unconditional discharge.

Foley told the Journal he's astonished that he has a criminal record now, while the would-be pedophiles are still running around free, adding that the justice system protects pedophiles.

A Sûreté du Québec spokesperson told the paper that while they strongly encourage reporting suspected pedophiles to police, they add that they're the only ones authorized to carry out those kinds of investigations, and that private citizens shouldn't be taking the law in to their own hands.

The SQ's Ingrid Asselin says the trio's actions may, in fact, hinder their investigations into such cases, because evidence needs to be handled a certain way. The "evidence" gathered by Foley and his friends, she says, may not even be admissible in a court of law.