Teacher facing child porn charges in court
A Brocket elementary school teacher facing child pornography charges made his first court appearance Tuesday in Pincher Creek.
Mark Anderson appeared in person but simply adjourned his case for a month. Duty counsel, who assisted Anderson during the brief hearing, told court the accused still needs time to hire a lawyer.
Anderson, 44, of Pincher Creek, is charged with possessing, accessing and distributing child pornography. He was arrested Jan. 11 following an investigation by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team Internet Child Exploitation Unit with help from Pincher Creek RCMP, Piikani Nation RCMP and Lethbridge Police Service.
The investigation began in July 2017 when ICE received a referral from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children concerning a social media user uploading child sexual exploitation material. Police reported following Anderson’s arrest that none of the images appeared to have originated in southern Alberta.
Anderson was involved in various youth-oriented community programs on the Piikani Nation Reserve, including minor sports and Scouts Canada. He was also teaching at Napi's Playground Elementary School, but was suspended from teaching and barred from Peigan board of education property.
"The safety and well-being of our Piikani Nation students and children is our highest priority," states a news release issued by the board Jan. 15.
“PBOE wishes to assure parents, families and communities that we are, and will be diligent in, keeping our Piikani children thriving while attending our schools."