'The most depraved collection I've seen': Investigator testifies at Saskatoon child porn sentencing
WARNING: This story contains details readers may find disturbing
The officer who investigated a Saskatoon child pornographer's hundreds of videos and thousands of images said they were the worst he's ever encountered.
Philip Michael Chicoine admitted that he directed the real-time sexual abuse of children overseas using the computer program Skype from his parents' home in Saskatoon.
Chicoine, 27, has pleaded guilty to 40 counts of possessing, producing and sharing child pornography.
"This is by far the most depraved collection I've seen," Cpl. Jared Clarke from the Internet Child Exploitation Unit said at Chicoine's sentencing hearing in Saskatoon Monday.
The Crown is asking for a 17-year sentence.
Paying parents to abuse children
Clarke said what made Chicoine's case disturbing was not only his collection of more than 580 "unique" videos and more than 4,000 "unique" photos, it was also the fact that Chicoine spent more than $20,000 over five years to pay for the online exchanges.
This collection really stuck with me. It caused me to have nightmares.- Cpl. Jared Clarke, Internet Child Exploitation Unit
He would discuss his sexual interests with the parents of the abused children, who ranged at various points from infants to 14 years. Then the parents would abuse the children according to his specific directions.
The Crown presented graphic and disturbing videos in court that they said had been seized from Chicoine's computer. The short excerpts shown depicted scenes of horrific child abuse. Screams of the victims could be heard throughout the courtroom.
Chicoine indicated in the exchanges that he preferred children who cried during the abuse, and that he favoured "hurtcore" and complained about the difficulties of finding "pedomoms."
The images and videos — many of them involving torture and bondage — were, in Clarke's words, "the worst" he has seen in a six-year career investigating similar cases.
Some of the material was so disturbing, Clarke said, that it affected him personally. At points, he was emotional about what he saw.
"This collection really stuck with me. It caused me to have nightmares."
Members of Chicoine's family had been present for much of the trial but were not there when the videos were played.
Texts to children
Prosecutor Lana Morelli said the investigation began on Valentine's Day this year when police came across a single pornographic image uploaded to a computer address in Saskatoon.
In addition to the Skype contact, Morelli said Chicoine texted children directly. She read texts from children as young as 10 in Florida, Australia and Saskatoon.
At one point, a 14-year-old texted him that she needed money to pay for school and bus travel and that she's so overwhelmed that she may kill herself. To that, Chicoine replied that he'd want her to film the suicide so that he could watch.
Morelli said that police raided Chicoine's home days before he had made arrangements to meet a woman in Saskatoon who was a cousin of a woman in the Philippines with whom he had been dealing. He was preparing to travel to the Philippines to engage in direct physical abuse with pre-teens and toddlers.
The case was adjourned until June 29 when additional submissions will be made by lawyers in the case and the defence will have the opportunity to respond.
With files from Charles Hamilton