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Court sheriff on leave after allegation

August 30, 2016 5:44 P.M.

A Kamloops deputy sheriff faces an investigation by the B.C. Court Services Branch after allegations that he tried to engage in a relationship with a 14-year-old girl.

The B.C. Ministry of Justice said the sheriff, accused by the Kelowna-based vigilante group Creep Hunters, has been put on leave.

"The Court Services Branch learned of this allegation with regard to one of its deputy sheriffs," the Ministry of Justice said in a statement. "The branch takes these allegations very seriously. We can confirm that this employee is on leave, pending further investigation.”

RCMP are also investigating the allegations, although they continue to warn the public not to pursue vigilante-style investigations. Formerly called Creep Catchers, the Creep Hunters have made recent headlines by posing as young girls in attempts to catch suspected pedophiles.

The group then posts text conversations, along with videos of their meetings, to their website.

In the most recent case on Monday, Aug. 29, the group said it posted an ad on Craigslist, claiming to be a 14-year-old girl. A man contacted the group and engaged in conversation that turned sexual in nature. In the exchange, he sent pictures of a man in a sheriff's uniform and naked pictures, the group claims.

Creep Hunters said they told the man early on that they were a 14-year-old girl, but the man claimed he thought the person was older than 14.

At one point, before he was confronted, the man appears to have regretted his previous texts, the group said.

The sheriff has not been charged with any crime, which is why his name and photo have not been published here.

Sheriffs in B.C. are peace officers responsible for court security and transporting people in custody; they are not police officers.

With files from Castanet

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