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Fort McMurray couple charged with sexual assault of infant

Click to play video: 'Fort McMurray couple charged with sexual assault of infant' Fort McMurray couple charged with sexual assault of infant
A Fort McMurray couple is facing several sexual assault-related charges after police said an infant victim was sexually assaulted. Kim Smith has the details – Mar 11, 2021

WARNING: Some of the details in this article are disturbing.

A Fort McMurray couple is facing several sexual assault-related charges after police said an infant victim was sexually assaulted.

The Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) investigation began in May 2020 when officials were alerted by Facebook about images believed to be child pornography.

Police were led to Fort McMurray in October 2020 and a couple’s electronic devices were seized.

Read more: Child luring and sextortion cases online spike since start of pandemic

Andrew Wall, 41, and Marlena Bennett, 33, were charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. Bennett was also charged with making child pornography.

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Further charges came after police said forensic analysis turned up evidence of the sexual assault.

“When the couple’s electronic devices were analyzed, ICE uncovered very troubling, disturbing evidence of a young child being sexually assaulted,” Staff Sgt. Mike Zaparyniuk said.

Charges of sexual assault, sexual interference and bestiality were then laid against Wall and Bennett in February.

ALERT wouldn’t expand on the relationship between the couple and the child, and would only say the victim was known to the couple.

Read more: ICE reports spike in online child exploitation cases in Alberta amid COVID-19 pandemic

Zaparyniuk said the mother of the victim knew the child was in the couple’s care at the time.

The forensic analysis is ongoing, but police said it’s believed there may be more victims.

“Based on the forensics that we’ve come across to date, they’re extremely disturbing and based on that and hundreds of thousands of messages, that’s what’s led us to believe that there’s the potential for other victims out there,” Zaparyniuk said.

Anyone who left their child in the care of Wall and Bennett is asked to call Wood Buffalo RCMP.

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Click to play video: 'Child luring and sextortion cases online spike since start of pandemic' Child luring and sextortion cases online spike since start of pandemic
Child luring and sextortion cases online spike since start of pandemic – Mar 9, 2021

 

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