Police say, in November 2015, detectives from the Criminal Investigation Branch of the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) commenced an investigation into an Aggravated Assault of a 38 year old male from the Niagara Region.
Allegations stemmed from this incident about a possible sexual assault of a young child. As a result of this new information, detectives from the Child Abuse Unit became involved. Over the next nine months the investigation into child sexual abuse and internet child sexual exploitation grew considerably in scope. Detectives gathered evidence that indicated that there was more than just one child at risk.
In total 6 children between the ages of 4 17 years old were identified and rescued. Some of these children were actively being targeted as victims of sexual abuse/exploitation, which was prevented by police intervention. All the children that were at risk are now in a place of safety. There is no evidence that any other children were targeted or involved with this specific investigation. These victims were known to the accused individuals.
This was an extensive investigation that commenced in November 2015 till July 2016 with over 12 NRPS specialized units assisting. It led to in excess of 15 warrants being written and executed. Over 60 electronic devices were seized for forensic examination.
The Niagara Regional Police Service Internet Child Exploitation Unit also received assistance from the Toronto Police Service. Their Sex Crimes – Child Exploitation Section played a role in this investigation. The co-operation of the Toronto Police Service led to the arrest of one of the accused without incident.
The Child Abuse Unit investigation, centered on a 33 year old female from the Niagara Region. This accused female is the biological mother of two female victims under the age of 18 years old, the youngest being 4 years of age.
The female was arrested on January 22, 2016, and to date she remains in custody. The charges are based on allegations that she was sexually assaulting both of her children. Some charges date back approximately 6 years ago, against her eldest child.
It is alleged that this female also supplied sexually explicit photographs of her children for her own personal gain. As well, that she made her 4 year old daughter available to be sexually assaulted by other individuals.
The initial Aggravated Assault investigation revealed that this female a played a role in that investigation. She was subsequently charged with Attempt Murder. The victim in that incident was another accused.
Accused Male #1 On November 16, 2015, a 29 year old male from the Niagara Region, was arrested and charged with 1 count of aggravated assault. The charges against this male have been upgraded to Attempted Murder. He attended a bail hearing and has been released from custody under judicial authority with several conditions.
Accused Male #2 On January 22, 2016, a 27 year old male from the Niagara Region was arrested and faces a total of 11 charges including Sexual Assault with a Weapon against one female victim under the age of 16 years old, and child pornography related offences. This male remains in custody.
Accused Male #3 – On January 28, 2016, a 38 year old male from the Niagara Region was arrested and faces a total of 9 charges of Sexual Assault related offences against two female victims under the age of 16 years old. This male attended a bail hearing and has been released from custody under judicial authority with several conditions.
Accused Male #4 On February 4, 2016, a 35 year old male from the Toronto, was arrested and faces a total of 12 charges including Sexual Assault related offences against 1 female victim under the age of 16 years old, and child pornography related offences involving 2 female victims under the age of 16 years old. He remains in custody.
Accused Male #5 On February 18, 2016, a 34 year old male from the Niagara Region was arrested and faces a total of 8 charges including Sexual Assault related offences against one female victim under the age of 16 years old, and child pornography related offences. This male remains in custody.
Any identifying details on persons arrested, specific locations within the Niagara Region where these alleged offences have taken place, will not be released as they may lead to the identification of the victims. Protection of the child victims is paramount.
The matter is before the courts and we must ensure a fair trial and not jeopardize the judicial process.
Court ordered publication bans are also in effect.
The Niagara Regional Police Service is a member of the Ontario Provincial Police lead Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the internet and conducts investigations into Internet Child Exploitation Offences in partnership with 27 law enforcement agencies. This investigative initiative has been made possible with financial assistance from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of the Attorney General. The network of law enforcement agencies that are part of the Provincial Strategy were also able to provide investigative support.
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