18 arrests and little girl rescued in Quebec after investigation targets child sex offenders
Watch: RCMP lay 343 charges in child porn bust
MONTREAL – Five children in four provinces, including Quebec, have been “removed from harm” after a national investigation called Operation Snapshot 3 targeted 150 alleged child sex offenders.
“Three suspects were caught red-handed.”
Quebec provincial police, working with the RCMP and municipal police forces, made 18 arrests: seven in total in Montreal, Quebec City, Longueuil and Laval; two arrests in St. Jean-sur-Richelieu and in Gatineau and one arrest in Chateauguay, Durham South, Granby, Maskinonge, McMasterville, Sherbrooke and Ste-Hyacinthe.
“Three suspects were caught red-handed, rendering child pornography, making the material,” said Surete du Quebec spokesperson Guy Lapointe via telephone from Halifax.
These suspects, all men aged between 26 and 77, are facing about 70 charges relating to producing, accessing and distributing child pornography. Authorities also seized 38 computers, 81 hard drives and 1600 CDs and DVDs.
“The preconception that we have that these types of gentlemen are older men, in their basement is wrong. It’s really all types of profiles,” Lapointe noted.
He also said that many of the suspects admitted while being questioned that they had sexual interest for children.
Although investigations are underway to determine whether any of the suspects actually sexually assaulted children, Lapointe did confirm that there was at least one case where there was a victim of sexual assault, a “little girl.” He would not say where she lived in Quebec.
“Prevention is key.”
Coordinated by the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC), the investigation began in February 2014.
“Our special squad in Quebec also includes two RCMP officers,” Lapointe said. The team has close to a hundred specialists who patrol the internet in order to detect illegal web activity.
In Halifax on Thursday, the RCMP said that a total of 167 investigations were conducted across Canada by municipal, provincial and federal police services, resulting in the seizure of hundreds of computers and hard drives along with nearly two million images or videos.
“Prevention is key in combating internet-facilitated child sexual exploitation,” said RCMP Superintendent John Bilinski, the 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 find out how to report a possible crime or to find out more about how to protect yourself and children, there is a wealth of information on Canadian Center of Child Protection, Cybertip.ca and Getcybersafe.gc.ca.
© Shaw Media, 2014