Calgarians among hundreds arrested in child porn investigation
Three Albertans, including two Calgarians and a former math professor, are facing child pornography charges after an investigation headed by Toronto police.
34-year-old Jonathon Robert Gerbrandt and 39-year-old Kevin Michael Owad have both been charged with possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography.
Owad is also charged with making child pornography available.
The third Albertan charged is 66-year-old Andrew Liu, a retired University of Alberta professor from Edmonton.
The investigation, dubbed Project Spade, has led to the arrest of more than 300 people, 108 of them Canadian.
They include teachers, doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers, pastors and priests and three foster parents.
The three year investigation was focused on Azov Films, a Toronto company that sells DVDs and what it calls “naturist” films.
Police allege the man running the company, 42-year-old Brian Way of Toronto, recruited people mostly in eastern European countries to create videos of children ranging in age from five to 12 years. The videos were then distributed internationally.
Police say there were hundreds of thousands of videos depicting horrific sexual acts, some of the worst they’ve ever viewed.
Way is now facing 24 charges.
A website that relies solely on public tips played an important role in the investigation.
“Cybertip.ca…received numerous tips regarding Mr. Way’s website and forwarded them to us, assisting us in detecting his website,” said Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins, commander of the Toronto police’s sex crimes unit.