A 36-year-old Eckville pedophile who preyed on victims as young as two years old was sentenced to 18 years in prison and designated a long-term offender on Tuesday.
Red Deer provincial court Judge Jim Hunter agreed the man’s crimes, which include compiling one of the biggest child porn collections investigators have seen in Alberta, called for a 10-year long-term supervision order.
The order requires him to obey strict conditions once his prison sentence has been served. Given time-and-a-half credit for his two years in custody, he has 15 years left on his sentence.
The man pleaded guilty in October 2019 to multiple counts of sexual assault; sexual contact with a minor; sexually counselling a minor; possession of child pornography; making, printing or publishing child porn and voyeurism — 26 charges in all.
Over nearly a decade before his arrest in January 2019, the man compiled 180,000 images and 27,000 videos of children. Investigators said it was the largest collection of child porn videos and the second largest collection of child porn images ever seized in Alberta.
He recorded himself sexual assaulting or molesting children many times, sharing some of the images on online child pornography sites.
The man’s name cannot be published to protect the identities of his victims, who ranged in age from two to 10 years old. The Red Deer Advocate has also agreed at the request of the victims’ families to not reveal any information about their connection to the children’s abuser.
Hunter said the man’s crimes, which date back to February 2010 and included 11 victims, have left both the children and their families pscyhologically and emotionally devastated.
One woman, whose daughter was sexually abused, attempted suicide because of the guilt she felt at not being able to protect her child, according to her victim impact statement.
Another woman wrote about how she constantly worries how her daughter will cope when she fully understands what was done to her.
“These crimes affect every aspect of their lives on a daily basis,” said Hunter.
That the images were shared online means the victims and their families live in fear that others can still view the abuse suffered at the hands of a predator.
A lawyer for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection filed two community impact statements. They pointed out that each time an image is viewed those who were abused are “re-victimized” and that the ordeal never really ends for them.
Hunter said by distributing the images online “he has, in essence, participated in the abuse of thousands of children.”
The man was arrested by Sylvan Lake RCMP in January 2019 after Australian police tipped off the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team’s internet child exploitation unit about a central Alberta suspect using a photo sharing site used by child pornographers.
Investigators searched homes in Eckville and Fox Creek associated with the suspect and recovered the huge number of photos and videos. They were collected and carefully catalogued on a device that was protected by a complex password that investigators were lucky to crack.
Given the scope of the man’s crimes, Calgary special prosecutor Carolyn Ayre sought to have the man declared a long-term offender, which allows for additional supervision once a person has completed their sentence.
A hearing was held last October in which a number of witnesses testified, including experts in psychologists and psychiatrists who had assessed the man.
It was determined he suffered from pedophilia disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder but was considered only a “moderate risk” to reoffend.
In ordering the 10-year long-term supervision order, Hunter said he accepted the man’s remorse and took into account that he pleaded guilty rather than subject his victims to lengthy court proceedings.
The man is considered a life-time sex offender, which means he must abide by strict conditions limiting his access to computer devices that can access the Internet and ensuring he is kept away from any places where children are likely, such as schools, playgrounds and pools, unless he is accompanied by a responsible adult.
Since the man took thousands of voyeuristic photos at malls and Sylvan Lake’s beach his access to those types of places is also restricted. He must also have no contact with his victims and must stay at least one kilometre for their homes when he is released.
Ayre had sought a 20-year sentence as well as a 10-year-long-term supervision order but was satisfied with the judge’s decision.
“It was a well-thought-out decision,” she said, adding there were many issues to be weighed.
The man is also banned from owning weapons for life and must submit DNA to a national database.