A Hamilton woman has been taking pornographic photos of her children and sending them to an overseas penpal, police say.
In January, a 50-year-old man from London, England, was arrested for possession of indecent images of children. The investigation by British authorities revealed a woman from Hamilton had sent several images of her children to the man.
'We would expect this to happen much more often in men. That it's alleged to be a woman is shocking.'—Robin Wilson, McMaster
Members of the Hamilton Police Internet Child Exploitation unit were alerted to the investigation and executed a search warrant in the city's east end Thursday morning.
The three children in the home were removed and the Catholic Children's Aid Society was notified, police say.
The Catholic Children's Aid Society told CBC Hamilton that it cannot comment on the location or status of the children, or details of the case itself because it is before the courts.
Hamilton police also seized numerous computers and devices from the home for forensic examination.
The 46-year-old woman was not home at the time, but was arrested at her place of employment in Toronto shortly afterwards, police say.
The woman's name is not being released to protect the child victims. She has been charged with making, distributing and possession of child pornography.
Cases of women producing child pornography are extremely rare, according Robin Wilson, a McMaster researcher who specializes in counselling sexual offenders.
"This is a very uncommon crime that happens very infrequently. We would expect this to happen much more often in men. That it's alleged to be a woman is shocking," he said. "The fact that it's a woman suspect who's a parent is even more shocking."
Wilson, whose practice is based in Florida, said females who molest children seldom do it for their own sexual gratification.
Rather, women who produce child porn, he said, would more typically be motivated by the possibility of financial gain or a desire to please a dominant male love interest.
"Women [sexual abusers] are much more likely to be mentally ill, much more likely to to have something going on in their lives," Wilson added.