Lethbridge mom charged with sexual assault, police find 500K photos and videos of child pornography

A mother and a Barnwell, Alta., man have been accused of sexual assault and making child pornography after police say they found nearly half a million photos and videos of child sexual abuse materials during a raid in September.

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The investigation into online child exploitation also led to the rescue of a minor in southern Alberta.

The child’s mother was arrested on Nov. 2 after police executed a search warrant at a house in Lethbridge. The mother’s name is not being released in order to protect the victim’s identity. The child’s age is also not being released.

“The child has been placed in a safe environment,” said ALERT spokesperson Mike Tucker.

Police say Alberta Children’s Services is involved and the child has received specialized support services.

“I’m not going to provide the age of the child. I can say it’s a school-aged child,” Tucker said. “Our interest is just sheltering this child as much as possible, preventing the release of information that could lead to their identity (being exposed).

“This is a tragic set of circumstances and they’re going to have a long road to processing this trauma and recovering from this.”

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The investigation led police to the Lethbridge home after finding evidence of the alleged abuse from a previous case in Barnwell, Alta., when a 41-year-old man was arrested. The search happened on Sept. 19 after a tip came in from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about an Alberta suspect that was uploading child pornography on Facebook. Facebook notified authorities about what was being uploaded.

“ICE (the internet child exploitation unit) believes that the two suspects were in a previous relationship and sexually assaulted the child, in addition to sharing child sexual abuse materials,” ALERT said in a statement Thursday.

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“A forensic analysis of computers seized from the Barnwell home identified nearly half a million photos and videos of child sexual abuse materials. Amongst this vast collection, ICE identified a series of materials that they believed were unique and possibly created by the accused.”

Tucker said this is one of the largest seizures ALERT has made. Combing through all that evidence is hard on investigators, he added.

“The dedication, the resiliency, for those investigators to have to endure so much of that, and in this case, it led to the rescue of a child.

“This can be heartbreaking at times. It places a tremendous toll on our investigators but is also highly motivating to know that they can rescue a child and make a difference in their lives,” Tucker said.

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Police say an investigation into this collection of child sexual abuse materials revealed the content was produced in Alberta and ICE identified a victim being abused and a suspect.

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The investigation suggests the abuse took place over period of several months, Tucker said.

The unidentified mother is a 34-year-old Lethbridge woman, who has been charged with:

Sexual assault;Sexual interference;Making child pornography;Distribution of child pornography; andPossession of child pornography.

The mother of the victim was released from police custody and her next court date is slated for Dec. 19, in Lethbridge.

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The other suspect, a 41-year-old Barnwell man, has been charged with:

Sexual assault;Making child pornography;Accessing child pornography; andPossessing child pornography.

He was also released and his next court date is Jan. 16, 2024, in Taber.

Taber Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and Vauxhall RCMP assisted with the investigation.

Police are asking anyone with information about this case or any child exploitation to contact their local police or report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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Source : https://globalnews.ca/news/10170047/lethbridge-mom-charged-with-sexual-assault-police-find-500k-photos-and-videos-of-child-pornography/amp/

Auteur :

Date de Publication : 2023-12-14 18:31:04

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