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Former N.S. tennis instructor up on new sex charges involving minors

Click to play video: 'Online Child Sexual Exploitation on the Rise in Canada' Online Child Sexual Exploitation on the Rise in Canada
Online child sexual exploitation has increased exponentially in Canada throughout the pandemic and, in an effort to curb child exploitation incidents, the government of Canada has launched an awareness campaign for youth, parents and educators. – Jul 15, 2021

A former tennis instructor in Nova Scotia, who was on probation after being sentenced to two years probation for sexual offences involving a 15-year-old boy, is now facing new child pornography charges.

In addition, police say they believe there may be other victims within the Halifax area and throughout the province.

Read more: Former N.S. tennis coach sentenced to 2 years probation on sexual offences

Halifax Regional Police (HRP) say investigators with the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit arrested Aaron Byron Cumberland, 31, in Dartmouth on Wednesday.

According to police, Cumberland has been charged with:

  • Possession of child pornography (x4)
  • Luring a child (x3)
  • Making child pornography (x4)
  • Making available child pornography (x4)
  • Obstruct a peace officer while engaged in the lawful execution of their duty
  • Fail to comply with release order
  • Failing to comply with probation order (x3)

He appeared in Halifax Provincial Court on Thursday and was scheduled for another appearance Friday.

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HRP confirmed with Global News these latest charges stem from an investigation that began in January of this year, after the ICE Unit received information.

They also say there may be more victims.

“We are reaching out to offer support and encourage victims to contact police,” HRP wrote in a news release.

“We want victims to know that they can contact us and discuss an incident before making a decision to further participate in the investigation and court process.”

In December 2020, Cumberland was sentenced on charges of luring a child, making sexually explicit material available to a child and offering invitations to sexual touching after being found guilty in October.

A long list of conditions, including lifetime registration with the sex offender registry, was imposed at the time. The court also ordered a two-year social media ban and prohibited all contact with anyone under the age of 16.

According to court documents, Cumberland was charged in January of this year with violating that probation order. Of the four charges, three were for communicating with someone under the age of 16 and one charge was for using the internet to access social media or illegal content.

Cumberland worked as a tennis coach in the Kentville area before first being charged with luring a child in November 2017.

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Read more: Nova Scotia man sought by RCMP child exploitation unit on luring charges now in custody

In 2018, he pleaded guilty to illegally entering the United States after being apprehended by U.S. border patrol officers in northern Maine.

A previous news release issued by RCMP in 2017 indicated he has gone by the aliases “Aaron Austin” and “Aaron-Felix Austin,” as well as the nickname “Hiro,” in the past.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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