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64 people charged in Ontario child exploitation investigations


Ontario Provincial Police say 64 people have been arrested and a combined 348 charges have been laid in connection with a series of child exploitation investigations across the province.

OPP released details of those investigations during a conference in Scarborough Wednesday morning.

"Parents need to understand what it is their kids are doing online. One of the golden rules with engaging online is if you do not know that person 100%, then you do not know who that person is. They could be hiding behind any name, any age, any picture," said OPP Detective Staff. Sgt., Tim Brown.

Two people from Guelph, one from Kitchener, three from Cambridge and one from Fergus are among the 64 people charged.

"One of the individuals we arrested in Cambridge was on parole for similar offenses. He was investigated in London. So during our search warrant, we found him in breach of his parole conditions. So his parole was revoked,” said Sgt. Brian Duyn with the Waterloo Regional Police Cybercrime - Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit.

The provincial investigations began on Feb. 19 and ended Feb. 29. At that time, investigators identified and arrested those making, possessing and distributing child sexual abuse material.

Police say the majority of the investigation was "reactive," with investigators responding to complaints from different electronic service providers.

"The fight against child exploitation requires more than just the efforts of law enforcement. It demands a societal pledge to safeguard our most vulnerable," Sgt. Brown said.

As a result, 34 victims were identified and 607 electronic devices were seized by police.

The victims whom they could identify were provided with victim support and 30 of the children were “safeguarded”, meaning they were removed and protected from dangerous situations where they could be harmed.

"When a child is being sexually abused, technology is likely being used to facilitate the ongoing harm,” said Signy Arnason, the associate executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “Survivors of child sexual abuse material have repeatedly said how important it is to get the images and videos of their abuse off the internet. Our agency sends 20,000 plus removal notices to hosting providers every day. In addition to the critical efforts of police, you can help protect a victim by reporting to if you are concerned about someone's online interaction with children."

Police allege that in one case, one person who intended to meet with a child for a sexual purpose was actually communicating with undercover investigators. Another person, they said, was in possession of approximately 21 terabytes of data containing child sexual abuse material.

Specific charges

A 31-year-old Kitchener man has been charged with:

  • Possession of child pornography (four counts)
  • Distribution of child pornography (three counts)
  • Making child pornography
  • Luring a person under 16
  • Making sexually explicit material available to a child (two counts)
  • Sexual interference
  • Sex assault
  • Criminal harassment
  • Assault causing bodily harm – choke, suffocate or strangle
  • Extortion
  • Administer noxious thing
  • Trafficking in substance – methamphetamine

He’s currently in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on May 9.

A 20-year-old man from Cambridge has been charged with:

  • Possession of child pornography
  • Make available child pornography

An 18-year-old Cambridge man has also been charged with possession of child pornography.

Both the 20-year-old and 18-year-old have been released from custody and have a May 14 court date.

A 56-year-old man from Cambridge has been charged with:

  • Possession of child pornography
  • Make available child pornography
  • Breach of probation (three counts)

He remains in custody and is scheduled in court on May 30.

A 20-year-old man and 55-year-old man, both from Guelph, have been charged with:

  • Possession of child pornography
  • Accessing child pornography
  • Distribution of child pornography

The 56-year-old was released from custody and has a May 10 court date. The 20-year-old was also released from custody and is scheduled in court on May 14.

A 64-year-old man from Fergus has been charged with:

  • Luring a person under 16 (five counts)
  • Making sexually explicit material available (five counts)

He was released from custody and is scheduled in court on May 23.

Keeping kids safe

Sgt. Duyn says while the arrests help, the WRPS Internet Child Exploitation Unit currently has a cue of 351 cases.

"So four is really a drop in the bucket. For us to do four in one week, because four search warrants takes a lot of work. So it's unusual for us to do them all in one week like that. It's pretty much every two weeks we execute a search warrant doing this," Sgt. Duyn said.

WRPS has four full time investigators and a digital forensic analysist dedicated to the work. Sgt. Duyn says they receive 30 to 50 cases a month, but can really only manage around 25 to 30 cases a year.

Guelph Police say there is a similar issue there, with more caseloads than ability to investigate them.

"The devices are getting larger and larger. We're finding phones with a terabyte of memory on it. All of that has to be analyzed by first the digital forensics person and then the investigators go through all of the material that's on the phone or a computer. So it's a significant amount of work to go through these," Sgt. Duyn said.

Sgt. Duyn says cases of sextortion are also on the rise and parents and guardians need to be vigilant to help protect their kids online.

"You can't let them interact with strangers. So being involved with your kid’s online activity is the best thing that you can do to protect them."

The public is encouraged to learn more about how to keep children safe at Canadian Centre for Child Protection or

"Child sexual exploitation is a grave crime with lasting effects,” Sgt. Brown said. “We're dedicated to prevention and accountability. We need everyone's support to combat this community issue. If you see something, report it. Together, we can create a safer environment for all children, ensuring their well-being and protection." Top Stories

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