B.C. teacher unlikely to teach again after Creep Catchers sting | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. teacher unlikely to teach again after Creep Catchers sting

December 15, 2020 - 2:29 PM

A former B.C. elementary school principal embroiled in a 2016 Creep Catchers sting won't likely teach again.

Jason Alan Obert was found guilty of conduct unbecoming a teacher under the Teachers Act on July 29. This week a panel ruled that the Director of Certification will not reissue Obert a Certificate of Qualification, an Independent School Teaching Certificate or a Letter of Permission for a period of 15 years, reads a decision published online today, Dec. 15.

"The panel has found that (Obert's) unbecoming conduct seriously undermined the public’s confidence in the education system, as well as the dignity and credibility of the teaching profession. The panel agrees with the Commissioner’s submission that for the purposes of general deterrence and to communicate to the public that conduct by an educator towards minors will not be tolerated, a lengthy ban on any re-issuance of a certificate to the Respondent should be imposed," reads the decision.

The former principal of Windebank Elementary School in Mission was not criminally convicted for his conduct. In 2017, criminal charges of using telecommunications to lure a child under the age of 16 were stayed by the Crown.

Also, his conduct did not involve students.

"However, given (Obert's) explanation and justification for his conduct, coupled with its public notoriety and its impact on the school community, the panel is of the view that a 15-year ban on the re-issuance of a certificate is an appropriately lengthy ban in the circumstances of this case," the decision read.

The panel acknowledged in its decision that the practical effect of a 15-year ban is that "it is extremely unlikely (Obert) will ever be able to qualify to teach again."

Obert was snared through a chain of conversations and texts with a Creep Catcher named Marie Bullon throughout September and October of 2016.

At the time, Creep Catchers were in many communities throughout B.C. to try to expose anyone willing to engage in sexual conversations and encounters with who they believed were children. They often started with text messages until a meeting was arranged at which time the 'creeps' are caught on camera. 

Texts show Obert responded to a profile posted on the website Skout to a woman who initially said she was 18, named Sara.

READ MORE: Principal found guilty of conduct unbecoming of a teacher

Obert communicated electronically with Sara, who was actually Bullon, on the internet application TextNow, even after she told him she was actually 15 years old.

These messages, according to the July hearing decision, included comments by Obert, writing as "James 33" “about using marijuana, Sara’s appearance, and other sexualized content,” Meg Gailey, panel chair, wrote in the decision.

“In an exchange from Sept. 19, 2016, the texts from James to Sara include the following: ‘Love to see what U wore today sexy’; ‘So how long u been single’ ‘U must get hit on a lot ur pretty hot Sara.’ James also asks Sara when she broke up with her 18-year-old boyfriend and, ‘He ur first?’,” Gailey wrote.

He also made arrangements to meet Sara on two occasions. Then in October 2016 he went to the mall in Abbotsford to meet with her, where he was video-recorded by the group Creep Catchers.

When Obert testified to the panel, he claimed that he knew Sara and Hannah were adults and likely members of Creep Catchers, to no avail.

Obert didn’t deny that he arranged to meet Sara and her friend Hannah, but testified that when he went to Highstreet, he saw a woman, who he later identified as Bullon, at the McDonald’s with a group of people.

He testified that although he was researching Creep Catchers, he decided he was not ready to talk to them at that time.

Obert also claimed that the TextNow Chat Log presented was missing several text exchanges and that Bullon or someone else had edited and deleted the texts.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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