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Edmonton teacher charged with child pornography offence

Click to play video: 'Well-known Edmonton teacher and playwright facing child porn charge' Well-known Edmonton teacher and playwright facing child porn charge
WATCH ABOVE: A teacher and playwright in Alberta's capital has been charged with possession of child pornography. Sarah Kraus reports – Mar 22, 2017

An Edmonton teacher who is well known in the city’s theatre community has been charged with possession of child pornography.

David Belke, 56, was arrested on Friday following an investigation by Edmonton police and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team.

ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation team said it has no information to suggest Belke “offended on any children.”

The investigation began in late February after a tip from a computer repair shop.

“The police got notified, Edmonton Police Service… from a repair shop that there was child exploitation images on a computer that was dropped off,” said Staff Sgt. Stephen Camp with ALERT.

A computer was seized and ALERT said child sexual exploitation photos and videos were found on it.

The investigation is ongoing and more charges could be laid, ALERT said in a media release Tuesday afternoon. Anyone with information is asked to call police.

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Belke was a substitute teacher in Edmonton and heavily involved in local theatre. His website says he has filled many roles, including performer, producer, designer, teacher and playwright.

“Ensuring our students are safe while they are in our care is a role we take very seriously,” Edmonton Public Schools said in a statement to Global News on Tuesday. “Student safety is our No. 1 priority. We can confirm the individual is no longer serving as a substitute teacher with Edmonton Public Schools.”

Belke’s first full-length play was produced for the 1990 Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival, according to his website.

Belke is listed as an alumni member of Rapid Fire Theatre, a local improv company.

His website says he’s a resident playwright with Edmonton’s Shadow Theatre. The president of Shadow Theatre said Belke stepped down in February and no longer has any affiliation with the company. Donal O’Beirne said Belke worked with Shadow Theatre for 25 years.

Belke is scheduled to appear in court on April 6. He was released on a number of conditions, including that he must not be around children under 16 unless a parent or guardian is present. Belke must not be within 100 metres of a public park, recreation facility, daycare or any other facility where children under 16 may be present.

He is not allowed to work or volunteer anywhere that a person 16 or younger may be present.

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