Ontario child porn bust snares 60
Child pornography crimes steadily rising; 22 victims rescued
Posted: Feb 2, 2012 7:05 AM ET
Last Updated: Feb 2, 2012 10:50 PM ET
Police in Ontario have arrested 60 men — including a daycare worker — and charged them with hundreds of child pornography offences.
The co-ordinated raids by 24 police forces across Ontario picked up the suspects in the days leading up to Thursday's announcement.
"The is one of the largest co-ordinated efforts of its kind in Ontario," said Det.-Sgt. Frank Goldschmidt of the Ontario Provincial Police. "We anticipate there will be several more charged."
Goldschmidt said police from Windsor, London, Niagara, Toronto, Barrie, Sudbury and Ottawa — virtually every major centre in the province — participated in the sweep.
'They come from all walks of life. All occupations… and all different age groups, as well.'—OPP Det.-Sgt. Frank Goldschmidt on the 60 accused
In total, 76 search warrants were executed and 60 males arrested — including three people who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
"They come from all walks of life. All occupations … a daycare worker was arrested — and all different age groups, as well." said Goldschmidt.
Initially police have laid 213 charges for possessing, making, distributing and accessing child porn. They say there could be more charges as their investigation continues.
"I'm also gratified to report that 22 victims have been identified," Goldschmidt said. The victims, each from Ontario, have all been rescued.
The unusually large police news conference, held at a hotel in Vaughan, Ont., just north of Toronto, was also a way of highlighting what investigators say is a fast-growing crime in Canada's most populous province.
Police said the 60 individuals taken into custody were found after police uncovered nearly 9,000 IP addresses linked to child pornography.
Child pornography 'not just a big city problem'
The IP addresses can be found in every major centre in Ontario and Goldschmidt said it is increasingly clear that child pornography is “not just a big city problem anymore.”
Goldschmidt also said that "in any of the Canadian crime trends this is probably one of the only crimes that is still on a fairly substantial increase."
Police did not say if they were gathering evidence on the other IP addresses.
But, Goldschmidt said, advances in technology are allowing those interested in child pornography easier access and sharing of files. "We've noticed that the numbers are just steadily increasing."
Insp. Scott Naylor with the OPP's child sexual exploitation unit said the accused were tracked down with software the investigators created themselves.
"We're constantly building software and changing software and manipulating software, because the people who are trading this are constantly moving from one method of training to another," Naylor said.
Karyn Kennedy, executive director at the Toronto-based Boost Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention, said one difficult aspect for victims is that many of the images will be irretrievable now that they've been shared online.
"I've heard victims that are 40, 50 years old talking about having to come to terms with that, knowing that somewhere somebody is looking at a picture of them."
Police said they could not say if the men were operating as a ring, but believed they were operating individually.
One of the accused, a 51-year-old Mississauga man charged with accessing and possessing child pornography, was a support staff worker at a private school for junior kindergarten to Grade 8 students.
Lynn-Rose Heights Private School sent a letter home to parents Wednesday and sent out a public statement Thursday.
"Charges like these are taken very seriously and are deeply disturbing," the statement said. "We have been informed by police that at this time there is no evidence that our students, past or present, are connected to the charges."With files from John Lancaster and Genevieve Tomney
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