Manitoba

Ex-Winnipeg prof sentenced to 18 months prison for child pornography possession

A Winnipeg professor and scientist was sentenced Monday for the possession and distribution of child pornography.

Trevor Pemberton will spend 18 months behind bars and be on probation for 3 years

Trevor Pemberton was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison for child pornography possession and distribution. (Submitted)

A former University of Manitoba professor and scientist was sentenced Monday for the possession and distribution of child pornography.

Trevor Pemberton, who worked as a researcher at the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and at the University of Manitoba as an assistant professor of biochemistry and medical genetics, was arrested in 2018.

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years probation.

At the time of his arrest, the University of Manitoba said Pemberton was on leave and advised not to attend campus or interact with students. Today, the university said he was no longer an employee, but declined to provide specifics.

The Children's Hospital Reseach Institute said while he was never an employee and only worked as an outside collaborator on some research projects, his membership was suspended when he was charged in 2018.  His membership was not renewed in 2019, a spokesperson said.

Provincial judge Wanda Garreck told the court that, although denouncing the crime and and deterring future crimes are important in cases such as this, Pemberton seems to be taking accountability for his actions.

"He wants to accept and make amends by taking the consequences here and moving forward with that," she said, explaining Pemberton has been involved in psychological and psychiatric counselling "on a fairly intense basis for several months now."

Garreck said, while she sees signs of accountability, Pemberton remains a risk to the public until he fully understands what his triggers are.

During his parole, Pemberton will not be able to possess any pornography, and he's not allowed to use a computer or a device where he can access pornography, unless it's for legitimate work purposes, as well as a number of other conditions, Garreck said. 

He will not be able to go near a daycare, community centre or a similar space where children under 18 could be for 10 years.

Pemberton will also be on the sex offender registry for 10 years, which Garreck says reflects the severity of the crime.

"It is significant and it is repetitive," she said. "Any time this material is made available, the abuse continues."

The University of Manitoba said Pemberton is no longer an employee, but declined to provide specifics.

Pemberton was a past nominee for CBC Manitoba's Future 40, a station initiative in which members of the public nominate leaders in their community.

now