Edmonton

Former Edmonton soccer coach sentenced to prison for child porn

Wesley Vander Leeuw, 46, has been sentenced to three years, nine months in prison after trying to arrange for sex with a child by text.

Warning: Story contains details that may be disturbing to some

Wesley Vander Leeuw, 46, will serve three years, nine months in prison for five child-porn related charges. (Wes Vander Leeuw/Facebook)

A former Edmonton youth soccer coach was sentenced to three years, nine months in prison Friday after trying to arrange for sex with a child by text. 

Wesley Vander Leeuw, 46, showed no reaction in the prisoner's box as the sentence was handed down by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Michael Lema. 

Vander Leeuw was charged in January 2017 following an undercover operation conducted by the Northern Alberta Internet Child Exploitation Unit.

He was convicted in August on five child-porn related charges.

Lema agreed to a defence request that Vander Leeuw serve his time at the Bowden Institution in central Alberta, in order to accommodate visits to the facility by his elderly mother.   

During an exchange of texts with an undercover detective, the former used car salesman expressed interest in having sex with an 11-year-old girl, court heard. 

Text messages sent by the accused to an undercover police officer. (Court exhibit )

On the witness stand, the detective described the text messages as "very alarming."

At the sentencing hearing Friday, the judge called Vander Leeuw's proposed sexual scenarios with children "extremely troubling and reprehensible." 

'Disgusting and disturbing'

Vander Leeuw's ex-wife attended the sentencing decision.

Her identity is protected by a publication ban, but she agreed to speak to CBC News outside court. 

"While we were married, there were flags in regards to adult relationships and that's what led to the demise of our relationship," she said.

The couple separated after six years of marriage. 

She said she was shocked when she heard the contents of Vander Leeuw's text message exchanges during the trial. 

"Involving children, yes. That was disgusting and disturbing," she said. "To actually hear the details and realize it was more serious than what you think it was, that was the most difficult part.

"If he wasn't caught the way it was, it definitely would have escalated," she said. "Because the road he was leading to with his sexual deviations ... could only lead to worse scenarios." 

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