Toronto

Who's taking photos of women's behinds in Oshawa? Durham police want to know

Durham police are looking for a person who's being called out on social media for posting photos online of women's behinds without their consent.

Local woman found site called 'CanadaCreeping,' which features multiple photos of women's behinds

The website, posted on Tumblr, featured graphic hashtags including #sexyteen and #teenbubblebutt. (Christopher Langenzarde/CBC )

Durham police are looking for a person who's being called out on social media for posting photos online of women's behinds without their consent. 

Dubbed CanadaCreeping, the person's blog appears to target women in leggings who shop at the Oshawa Centre mall. 

When Christeen Thornton found the blog page through a Facebook post on Sunday, she immediately recognized the location. 

"I walk through through it all the time," she said. 

In an effort to catch the person who created the site, Thornton posted about it on Facebook. Since then, the post has garnered more than 1,000 shares. 

Thornton says she's received some troubling responses.

"One gentleman said he recognized his wife and daughter," she said.

"Dose (sic) anyone know who this sick f**k is because my daughter and wife are on it and I'd like to see this guy face to face," the man wrote on Facebook.

One man claims his wife and daughter are the subjects of one of the CanadaCreeping posts. (Facebook)

The photos were accompanied by graphic hashtags such as #sexyteen and #teenbubblebutt.

"I have a six-year-old daughter," Thornton said. "I worry about what the world is going to be like for her when she grows up."

In an email statement to CBC Toronto, Oshawa Centre general manager Chris Keillor said they are aware of the situation and considers it highly inappropriate.

"Our security team will monitor closely and intervene if necessary," Keillor wrote. "We encourage our guests to immediately report suspicious behaviours to our security team."

Christeen Thornton found the website through Facebook. (Chris Langenzarde/CBC)

Police are investigating

Dave Selby, spokesperson for Durham police, says investigators are working with the mall to identify the blog's author.

Selby is advising anyone who witnesses someone shooting these types of videos and photos to contact police immediately.

But he admits it will be difficult to charge them with any crimes.

"Certainly, a lot of us would agree it's not tasteful, it's unethical and immoral," he said. "But whether or not it's actually breaking the law is the question."

Dave Selby, spokesperson for Durham Police, says 'we need women to come forward who feel victimized.' (Christopher Langenzarde/CBC )

Selby says because the photos and videos were taken in a public space, he's technically not breaking any laws.

According to section 162 (1) of the Criminal Code, charging someone with voyeurism requires "circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy," along with proof that such media will be used for sexual purposes.

Historically, this has made voyeurism cases difficult to prove.

In 2014, the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. V. Labenfish included a man who secretly recorded video of a woman disrobing at a public beach.

'We need women to come forward'

He was acquitted of voyeurism and mischief. The judge stated that the filming did not occur "in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy."

Selby says in the case of the CanadaCreeping blog, there would have to be a clear case of harassment or evidence that he was breaching the mall's public code of conduct for him to be charged.

And if a woman can identify herself in one of the blog photos, she can call police to allege harassment, even exploitation.

"We need women to come forward who feel victimized, who feel like they're being harassed," he said. 

"That would be very helpful to our investigators."

With files from Ali Chiasson