A St. Albert couple is charged after their two school-aged children were allegedly subjected to years of sexual abuse by their own father.

The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams say the father assaulted the children over the past three years and the mother was aware of the abuse but failed to contact police or intervene.

Staff Sgt. Stephen Camp called the case disturbing. 

"It's a very sad case," Camp said at a news conference Friday. "These two wonderful children ... had their innocence stripped away for some sick sexual depravity by the people that they are closest to and that they should be trusting."

The Edmonton-based Internet Child Exploitation unit charged the parents May 2.

The father, 35, is charged with eight offences, including two counts each of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.

He's also charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography available.

The mother, 32, is charged with causing a youth to need intervention under the province's Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.

"Additionally their own mother allegedly knew of the abuse of the two children... and failed to take action," Camp said. 

The parents' names are not being released to protect the identity of the children.

'These children were deprived of a sense of safety and security that most of us take for granted'0:55

The investigation began in March when Alberta police got a tip from the U.S.-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that someone in St. Albert was uploading child pornography on social media. 

ALERT officers tracked the user to a home where police seized dozens of devices, including USBs, hard drives and laptops.

Demographics don't matter

Camp wouldn't say in which neighbourhood in St. Albert the crimes took place but stressed sexual-related crimes against children are on a level of their own. 

"The socio-economic status and demographics of the community doesn't really matter," he said. "We're finding it all over the place — in poor neighbourhoods, in upper-class neighbourhoods." 

The children are receiving support from the Zebra Child Protection Services and Alberta Child and Family Services.