An Elmira man is among a group of 31 people charged by police in connection with the largest coordinated child pornography investigation in Ontario’s history.
Dane Raymond Wilson, 40, of Elmira was charged with one count of possession of child pornography; one count of ‘make available child pornography;’ one count of accessing child pornography, and was to appear Feb. 5 in provincial court in Kitchener.
Wilson was arrested Feb. 4 by Waterloo Regional Police taking part in an OPP-led sweep that netted suspects across the province. The arrests capped an extensive investigation that spanned two-and-a-half years and which drew on the efforts of 18 municipal police forces.
Additional arrests are pending and the investigation continues.
The Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet – a joint venture of the OPP Child Exploitation Section and 18 municipal police services – was formed in August 2006. Since that time, it has completed 4,782 investigations and laid 1,983 charges against 634 persons.
In the latest operation, police executed 33 search warrants, resulting in 93-charges against 31 suspects ranging from young offenders through to age 60.
Charges include sexual assault, sexual interference, making child pornography, making available child pornography, distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. In addition, two child victims have been identified during the investigation thus far.
As computer technology and internet usage proliferates, such crimes are becoming a growing, international problem, police say. The child victims are increasingly younger and images more violent.
Though the recent raids resulted in several charges, they are a reminder that more work is required, said Waterloo Regional Police spokesman Olaf Heinzel.
“The fact that we have now identified individuals who are also considered children under the law for participating in this is very discouraging. It would indicate to us that we need to do more as a society to try to understand the scope of this type of criminal activity, and ensure that we provide significant knowledge and education around it,” he said.
“Child pornography and those types of cyber crimes are very dangerous for our children and we as a society, adults, have a responsibility to protect our children, to do everything we can to protect them and this is why this is such a hideous crime. All children are hurt by these types of crimes.”
Regional police encourage parents and children to review Internet safety strategies. For tips and information on Internet crime prevention, check out www.wrps.on.ca.