News

Nanaimo man arrested in national child porn investigation

Mounties have arrested and recommended charges against a 43-year-old Nanaimo man in a Canada-wide child pornography investigation.

Five children were removed from harm and more than 150 suspects have been arrested or are under investigation as a result of Operation Snapshot III, according to an RCMP press release issued Wednesday.

The investigation, started in February, was coordinated by the RCMP's National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, involved more than 40 police agencies and 167 separate investigations by municipal, provincial and federal police services and targeted sex offenders who collect, posses, share, make available, distribute or produce child pornography online.

Hundreds of computers and hard drives, plus nearly two million images and videos were seized.

Sgt. Rob Vermeulen, RCMP E Division spokesman, said in an e-mail to the News Bulletin that two of the five children rescued were in B.C., but the RCMP will not be releasing further information about the children to protect their privacy.

The suspect from Nanaimo, whose name has not been released, faces six recommended charges that include possession or make available child pornography, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Seven other suspects were arrested in B.C., including a 29-year-old man from Duncan.

"Prevention is key in combating Internet-facilitated child sexual exploitation," said RCMP Supt. John Bilinski, officer in charge of the Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploitation Children/Behavioural Sciences Branch. "Empowering children, parents, friends and teachers on how to combat Internet predators can make a difference. It is crucial for people to educate themselves about who to trust, where to find help and how to take action."

To view educational material and information on reporting crimes of child sexual exploitation, please visit the Canadian Centre of Child Protection website at http://cybertip.ca.

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