Kevin Johnston, pictured here when he was a B.C. deputy sheriff. He has since resigned from the sheriff’s service. —Image: file photo.

Former Kamloops deputy sheriff caught in vigilante sting gets one-year conditional sentence

Kevin Johnston pleads guilty to one count of breach of trust, three sexual charges dropped

A former Kamloops deputy sheriff caught in a 2016 Creep Hunters sting will serve a one-year conditional sentence with four months house arrest.

Kevin Johnston, 50, was arrested after he travelled to Kelowna from his then home in Kamloops to attempt to arrange a potential sexual encounter with someone posing online as a 14-year-old girl.

He will serve his sentence at his home on Vancouver Island, where he now lives.

The sentence, for one count of breach of trust by a peace officer, was handed down Tuesday in Kelowna provincial court by judge Michelle Daneliuk and came after lengthy negotiations between Crown and defence lawyers.

Three original charges of communicating with a person believed to be underage for the purpose of facilitating a sexual offence, as well as one count of invitation to sexual touching, were dropped. In the end, he pleaded guilty to breach of trust by a peace officer in connection with his high-profile arrest in 2016 in Kelowna following a vigilante sting operation.

Outside court, Johnston’s lawyer Jeremy Jansen said the decision was expected given that it was a joint submission by defence lawyers and Crown Counsel.

“He’s pleased to have this behind,” said Jansen of his client, noting Johnston plead guilty to just single lesser count charge, not to any sexual charges.

“Those were all dropped,” he added.

RELATED: Former Kamloops sheriff caught in sex-related sting pleads guilty to lesser charge

Johnston was employed in Kamloops as a deputy with the B.C. Sheriff Service when he was arrested.

According to an earlier agreed statement of facts filed in court, Johnston began communicating online with an adult woman portraying herself as a teenager as part of a vigilante group, Creep Hunters, aimed at exposing potential sexual predators online.

“In the month of August 2016, at a time when he was serving as a sheriff, Mr. Johnston engaged in a series of communications with Jennifer Carter,” the document states. “Those communications are the subject matter of the case before the court. Mr. Johnston engaged in those communications while off-duty, but invoked his status as a sheriff and peace officer.”

According to the document, Carter was portraying a girl named “Steph” when she began communicating with Johnston.

“In those communications, Mr. Johnston turned the conversation to sex,” the agreed statement of facts reads. “He sent two pictures of his penis and a full-frontal nude shot to Steph. He told her that he was a sheriff in Kamloops and sent photographs of himself in uniform and pictures of himself in the locker room at work.”

The messages began on Aug. 8, 2016, and concluded less than three weeks later, when Johnston drove from Kamloops to Kelowna to meet a person who he thought was Steph.

Johnston was confronted by members of Kelowna Creep Hunters at a strip mall where he thought he would be meeting Steph. The confrontation, on Aug. 27, 2016, was videotaped and posted online.

Carter contacted Kelowna Mounties and gave a statement about her interactions with Johnston and described how the conversations turned sexual in nature.

“OMG ur a cop?” Carter, as Steph, wrote on Aug. 9, 2016.

Johnston replied: “I am a sheriff! You should not have sex just to keep up with the other girls!! Your first time should be with someone special.”

Johnston’s conduct violated the Deputy Sheriffs’ Code of Conduct, the court heard last month, which prohibits a deputy from using his or her position to advance “private interests” and becoming “engaged in any activity that may result in criminal charges or convictions.”

Johnston had been employed as a deputy sheriff for 12 years at the time of his arrest. He was suspended after the allegations were made public and resigned within a week.

Special prosecutor Brock Martland and defence lawyer Jeremy Jensen pitched a joint submission for sentence, which would see Johnston placed on four months of house arrest.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm RCMP recover stolen property near Lyman Hill

One person arrested, officers appear to be searching side of Highway 1

Salmon Arm to hold two peaceful protests in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

June 4 and 6 protests to fight for justice for victims of police brutality, against systemic racism

Vehicle stolen in Revelstoke recovered near Salmon Arm after occupants suffer overdoses

Police say they were alerted to the vehicle after occupants treated by ambulance after drug use

Transport truck driver walks away from crash where cab detaches from trailer

Driver won’t be charged regarding incident near Pritchard

Sicamous RCMP catch driver going twice the speed limit

The car was impounded for seven days and the driver received a hefty fine

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

Police watchdog investigating fatal crash in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP received a report of a single-vehicle collision on Bulman Road near Highway 97 on June 1

Kelowna council greenlights ‘The Wedge’

The wedge-shaped building will be built at the corner of Leon Avenue and Water Street

Province looks to seize Kelowna home owned by alleged drug trafficker

Michelle Collins and Nigel Byrne were also recently investigated by Kelowna RCMP for drug trafficking

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Highway 1 closed after body found near Hope

Coroners Service reportedly on the scene, highway has been closed for 10 hours in both directions

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Most Read