Child pornography sweep nets 57

Police have filed more than 200 charges and arrested 57 men in Canada and overseas after a 14-month investigation into child pornography.

Former N.L. priest already serving time after investigation

Police have filed more than 200 charges and arrested 57 men in Canada and overseas after a 14-month investigation into child pornography.

The arrests that began in 2009 are the result of work by 13 law enforcement agencies, including Toronto police, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and German police. All the men arrested are alleged to be part of the same network.

Twenty-five of the accused are Canadian and face a total of 131 charges, Toronto police Det. Paul Krawczyk said at a news conference Wednesday.

The men are from all over Canada, including Vancouver and Conception Bay South, N.L. Seven are from Toronto, Krawczyk said. At least one of the accused is from Quebec.

Toronto police said they didn't want to divulge too many details about the operation and possibly jeopardize future investigations.

"Being careful, because it is very sensitive information, we discovered a person online trading child-abuse images and videos," said Krawczyk.

"When we made contact with that person, we sent the information to the local Canadian law enforcement agency. They made the arrest. It was information gathered during arrest and after that arrest that allowed us to infiltrate this network."

Ex-priest serving 2½ years

Police in St. John's confirmed the man Krawczyk was referring to is 51-year-old Robin Barrett, a former Anglican priest, of Conception Bay South.

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Const. Edward Billard said Barrett was the first person charged as part of the investigation that police dubbed Project Sanctuary.

"In November 2009, the RNC's child exploitation unit received information from the metropolitan Toronto police that led to a search warrant being executed on this individual's home," said Billard

Police in St. John's seized Barrett's computer equipment.

"Information extracted was passed on to the Toronto police and they did identify more individuals as a result of this and shared information with enforcement agencies inside and outside of Canada," he said.

Barrett was sentenced in September to 2½ years in prison after pleaded guilty to owning and distributing pornography featuring children as young as six months.

Calgarian Daniel Clayton, 29, was arrested in April and is alleged to have possessed child pornography, accessed child pornography and made child pornography available to an undercover police officer.

Clayton, a former U.K. Special Forces soldier, was a security expert who often commented in media reports on a wide range of topics.

The suspects arrested in Vancouver include Peter Scott Wilson, 47, who was arrested while sitting at a computer terminal at a Robson Street internet café in October. Wilson is facing four charges for possessing, accessing and distributing child pornography.

Warren Robert Allen, 51, was arrested following a search of a Vancouver apartment on Burnaby Street in May, after a substantial amount of child pornography was seized from the home. Wilson is facing two charges for possessing and distributing child pornography.

Krawczyk said several men arrested as part of the investigation have also been convicted of child pornography and sexual abuse offences. They range in age from 20 to 68 years.

One of the men arrested was from the Ottawa area, police confirmed.

25 children rescued

Krawczyk said authorities were able to save 25 boys and girls from sexual abuse, including 12 from Canada and others in the U.S. and Europe. The ages of the children police said were removed from abusive situations range from four to 15 years.

Four of the 12 Canadian children are from the Ottawa area. 

Police are not seeking any more individuals in connection with Project Sanctuary. But Toronto police's child exploitation unit is constantly looking for more victims and conducting more searches.