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RCMP make public appeal after child pornography charges laid against businessman

Click to play video: 'Prominent business leader suspended from job as he faces multiple child pornography charges' Prominent business leader suspended from job as he faces multiple child pornography charges
RCMP appeal to public for info in child pornography case – Feb 10, 2021

RCMP investigators are asking the public to come forward with any information connected to the recent case of a prominent Halifax businessman facing child pornography charges.

Police say Peter Moorhouse had connections with several community groups that could have helped him contact youth.

Read more: Better Business Bureau Atlantic’s president faces child pornography charges

Moorhouse, the president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Atlantic Canada, was arrested Sunday on charges of making child pornography and making an agreement to commit a sexual offence against a child.

The 47-year-old resident of Enfield, N.S., was charged after the RCMP Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit arrested 35-year-old Carlos Moraga.

Moraga was arrested at his home in Enfield and police laid three child pornography charges against him after receiving a police complaint.

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The 35-year-old was charged with sexual interference, making child pornography and making an agreement to commit a sexual offence against a child.

RCMP are asking the public to come forward with any information they have related to these charges, saying Moorhouse had many ties to community groups that worked with vulnerable populations and children.

“Investigators are looking for the public’s support to determine if there are any other victims out there,” said RCMP Cpl. Mark Skinner.

Two youth victims identified

RCMP says their preliminary investigation has identified two youth victims and police aren’t ruling out the possibility of others, it’s why they are appealing to the public.

“What I can tell you, is there is two youth, female victims from within the HRM area and they are safe and being looked after,” said Skinner.

RCMP reminds parents and guardians to talk to their children about internet safety and talk to them and talk to them regularly about it.

“Definitely be monitoring their social media and keeping an eye on what they are doing online,” said Skinner. “Because there are certainly some dangers out there.”

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Public safety minister says he reached out to RCMP to offer support in response to Pornhub accusations – Dec 8, 2020

‘We know this is happening’

YWCA of Halifax executive director Miia Suokonautio says commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth in Nova Scotia is much more prevalent than we understand or even the statistics might show.

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“We know this is happening across the province and we know that it is more than singular isolated incidents,” said Suokonautio.

Victims, especially children, might not find it easy to use voice and come forward with their experiences right away said Suokonautio.

That means adults need to be aware of what children are saying when they speak and create a safe way for them to have these conversations.

“We need to unpack our assumptions on who we think perpetrators are and we need to unpack our assumptions on what we think children are telling us, when they are telling us and why they are telling us,” said Suokonautio. “Because creating safe places for children to come forward is one of the key parts of keeping them safe.”

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Moorhouse was chair of the Bedford United Church council but has since resigned from his role, the church told its members on Tuesday.

Moorhouse also served on the board of the Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia but was removed after charges were laid.

The Better Business Bureau has suspended him pending the criminal investigation.

In a statement released Tuesday, Atlantic Canada BBB board chair Greg van den Hoogen said the board suspended Moorhouse immediately following the charges.

Read more: Halifax police arrest 56-year-old man on child pornography offences

“Our board of directors will be meeting within the next 24 hours to review the situation and consider what additional measures are appropriate,” wrote van den Hoogen.

“Because this is an active criminal matter before the courts, we need to be respectful of that process and refrain from additional public comment at this time.”

Moraga and Moorhouse were released on conditions Tuesday and are both scheduled to appear in Shubenacadie Provincial Court on March 22, 2021.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Enfield RCMP at 902-883-7077. They can also reach out to the YWCA Halifax and speak with a peer outreach worker.

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