Calgary

Former Lethbridge teacher pleads guilty to making, distributing child pornography

A man who taught grades seven through 12 at a French school in Lethbridge, Alta., has pleaded guilty to making, possessing and distributing child pornography.

Dwayne Schnell taught grades 7 through 12 at École La Vérendrye

Dwayne Schnell, a former school teacher in Lethbridge, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to making, possessing and distributing child pornography. (Facebook)

A former teacher in Lethbridge, Alta., pleaded guilty on Tuesday to making, possessing and distributing child pornography.

Dwayne Schnell, 37, was arrested in February after an investigation by the Southern Alberta Internet Child Exploitation Unit.

He was employed as a teacher at École La Vérendrye — where he taught grades seven through 12 — in the French school division the Conseil Scolaire FrancoSud, at the time of his arrest.

The connection between Schnell and his alleged victims cannot be spelled out due to a publication ban.

Crown prosecutor Carolyn Ayre told CBC News that Schnell first came to the police's attention after the National Centre 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.

Reports from Skype, Yahoo Messenger led to arrest

"It was determined that the upload to Skype came from a internet protocol or IP address located here in Lethbridge, Alta.," said Ayre.

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

Police executed a second warrant to examine the online storage accounts and discovered more images and videos of child porn. 

Additional charges were laid between December and February, Ayre said, after National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children 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. 

Limits set on Schnell's contact with children

Schnell is currently out on bail and is living with his parents at their home.

He is not permitted to use the internet any place except in a public library and is not permitted to use any device that can capture pictures or video.

He is also prohibited from having any contact with children under the age of 16, with the exception of his own children, whom he is only allowed to visit in the presence of his wife or parents. 

He is set to be sentenced in March 2018 after a forensic assessment and other reports are completed. 


With files from François Joly

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