Victoria man arrested in international porn bust

Victoria suspect has a history of sexual offences from other jurisdictions.

  • Nov. 15, 2013 7:00 p.m.

A Victoria man is among hundreds of people facing charges as part of an international child pornography bust that spread to more than 50 countries.

Victoria police can’t release further details on the man, in his 60s, due to a publication ban, but his home was searched and charges were laid in 2012 thanks to information passed on by Toronto police, said Const. Mike Russell.

The man has a history of sexual offences from other jurisdictions but wasn’t on police radar at the time, Russell said.

On Thursday, Toronto Police Service revealed it had been spearheading a three-year investigation, dubbed Project Spade, into a Toronto-based website that was actively distributing child pornography.

Many of the 45 terabytes of sexually explicit material seized by police in 2011 were among the most horrific officers had ever seen, said Toronto police Insp. Joanna Beavan-Desjardins, in a webcast press conference.

A 42-year-old Toronto man faces 11 child pornography-related charges for allegedly operating the website.

Police then went about identifying buyers of the material before before going public.

Now, 108 Canadians and at least another 240 people internationally are facing child pornography charges, and more arrests are expected, Beavan-Desjardins said.

Det. Mark MacPhail, VicPD’s Internet child exploitation investigator, said the local arrest is in addition to 15 child pornography cases he’s currently investigating in Victoria.

“Those files cross boundaries between luring, possession of child pornography … or sharing child pornography online,” MacPhail said at VicPD headquarters Friday. “From a personal standpoint, it’s very difficult to look at these horrific images of child sexual abuse, however I feel it’s very important work.”

Many of the tips VicPD receives come from cybertips.ca, the RCMP’s national child exploitation co-ordination centre, other police agencies or members of the public, MacPhail said.

More than 380 children, mostly boys between the ages of 5 and 12 from Ukraine and Romania, were identified as child pornography victims and removed from abusive situations during Project Spade. Buyers stretched from Norway to Australia to Hong Kong to Greece.

“”There will be further arrests and there will be more children who will be saved because of it,” Beaven-Desjardins said.

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