Gull Is­land man fac­ing charges

One of 22 ar­rested for al­leged child pornog­ra­phy of­fences

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE -

Res­i­dents from the North Shore of Con­cep­tion Bay and sur­round­ing ar­eas were ex­press­ing shock and dis­be­lief last week af­ter hear­ing a lo­cal res­i­dent is one of 22 men from At­lantic Canada ar­rested and charged with child pornog­ra­phy re­lated of­fences.

The ar­rests fol­lowed a sweep­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion RCMP of­fi­cials are call­ing Op­er­a­tion Snap­shot II.

Kyle Clarke of Gull Is­land, who turns 28 on July 2, was de­tained af­ter a search war­rant was ex­e­cuted on a res­i­dence in the town, lead­ing to charges of pos­sess­ing child pornog­ra­phy, mak­ing child pornog­ra­phy avail­able and ac­cess­ing child pornog­ra­phy.

Clarke ap­peared in Har­bour Grace provin­cial court on June 20 and was re­leased on re­cog­ni­zance to ap­pear back in court Sept. 4.

Op­er­a­tion Snap­shot II has been in the works since April, and has re­sulted in some un­nerv­ing dis­cov­er­ies, in­clud­ing 3,000 DVDs, 72 ex­ter­nal hard drives and mil­lions of pho­tos be­ing seized af­ter search war­rants were given in each case, of­fi­cials with the RCMP con­firm.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is go­ing to take a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time since of­fi­cers will have to sift through each in­di­vid­ual photo to track down, and hope­fully pro­tect, those chil­dren af­fected by th­ese crimes.

It was an­nounced June 26 that nine men from this prov­ince were ar­rested in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­clud­ing an un­named 55-year-old from the Gan­der area who has also been charged with eight counts of voyeurism and one count of mak­ing child pornog­ra­phy.

Many of those ar­rested have no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions and are not on the national sex-of­fender reg­istry. RCMP say 64-charges have al­ready been laid.

RCMP Insp. Jeff Thomp­son, the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor, said there is no “ring” of ac­tiv­ity, and a con­nec­tion may only be de­ter­mined through ex­am­in­ing the ev­i­dence seized dur­ing the home searches.

RCMP said two chil­dren have been “saved from harm” dur­ing this in­ves­ti­ga­tion, one from New­found­land.

It was spear­headed by the Canada Po­lice Cen­tre for Miss­ing and Ex­ploited Chil­dren in Ot­tawa, which is in part­ner­ship with sev­eral in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing In­ter­pol in Europe and the FBI in the United States. RCMP of­fi­cials have said they hope they can help track down the other chil­dren af­fected from those ar­eas.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion was done in part­ner­ship with the RCMP and RNC in this prov­ince, as well as other po­lice forces across At­lantic Canada.

Thomp­son said tech­nol­ogy is key to keep­ing up with the on­line preda­tors, but would not dis­close any de­tails on the sen­si­tive sub­ject.

Un­for­tu­nately, the porno­graphic mate- rial in ques­tion can be eas­ily found on the In­ter­net, he con­tin­ued.

Oth­ers ar­rested from this prov­ince are Declan Chais­son (Main­land), Theodore Alexan­der Lush (Tri­ton), Richard Moore (Har­bour Bre­ton), Robert David But­ler (St. John’s) and Ken­neth Harry Brad­bury (St. John’s).

The names of three ac­cused — res­i­dents of St. John’s, Baine’s Har­bour and Gan­der — have not been re­leased.

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