Lethbridge teacher sentenced to 4 years for making, distributing child porn

A former teacher in Lethbridge, Alta., has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for making, possessing and distributing child pornography.

Dropbox account on Dwayne Schnell's computer had 150 images of students

Dwayne Schnell, a school teacher in Lethbridge, has been sentenced to four years in prison for possessing, accessing and distributing child pornography. (Facebook)

A former teacher in Lethbridge, Alta., has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for making, possessing and distributing child pornography.

Dwayne Schnell, 37, was employed as a teacher at École La Vérendrye, where he taught grades 7-12, in the French school division the Conseil Scolaire FrancoSud, at the time of his arrest.

"That was one of the most troubling aspects of this case," said Crown prosecutor Carolyn Ayre, referring to Schnell's profession.

Schnell first came to the police's attention after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a report from U.S.-based video chatting service Skype that one of its users had uploaded an image of child pornography.

Police executed a search warrant and seized computers from Schnell's home, finding a Dropbox and other "cloud" storage accounts online.

Additional charges were laid when the centre received a second report of child pornography being uploaded to a Yahoo Messenger account under the same name and IP address as Schnell's Skype account.  

Hundreds of images

Cloud accounts belonging to Schnell contained 150 images of students taken without their knowledge, some of which were deemed child pornography. 

More than 1,000 images and 600 video files were found, many of which were shared on different platforms.

Schnell's lawyer, Greg White, said that despite a psychiatric report that found his client was not remorseful, Schnell feels bad and will continue to undergo treatment, as he has been for 16 months. 

"He has a heart of gold. But for whatever reason he became curious, looked at this material and continued to look at this material," White said.

"Unfortunately, behind that heart of gold, in quiet moments and dark moments, he was a different person."


With files from Francois Joly