Mi­nor hockey coach fac­ing child pornog­ra­phy charges

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - sbuist@thes­pec.com 905-526-3226

A Hamil­ton mi­nor hockey coach is fac­ing three child pornog­ra­phy charges fol­low­ing a two-week sweep by in­ves­ti­ga­tors in Hamil­ton Po­lice Ser­vice’s In­ter­net Child Ex­ploita­tion Unit.

Steven West, 43, is one of four men fac­ing a to­tal of 11 charges re­lated to child pornog­ra­phy.

West has been charged with pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy, mak­ing child pornog­ra­phy avail­able and ac­cess­ing child pornog­ra­phy.

West was the head coach of the Hamil­ton Huskies’ ma­jor pee­wee Mi­nor De­vel­op­ment Red team.

It is open to boys 12 and un­der as of Dec. 31, 2016.

The team is one step below the AA level.

The charges re­sulted from seven search war­rants ex­e­cuted by Hamil­ton po­lice at lo­ca­tions across the city be­tween Feb. 13 and 27 as part of Project Sil­ver Thaw.

Nu­mer­ous elec­tronic de­vices were seized and are still be­ing an­a­lyzed, po­lice said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors ex­pect to make more ar­rests and lay more charges.

Yosh Ki­ta­mura, pres­i­dent of the Hamil­ton Huskies mi­nor hockey or­ga­ni­za­tion, said West has been re­moved as coach of the team.

It’s be­lieved to be West’s sec­ond year as a coach in the Huskies’ or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Ki­ta­mura said rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the or­ga­ni­za­tion have met with all of the par­ents on the team and no in­ci­dents of con­cern have been re­ported by par­ents.

“They were as dumb­founded as we were,” Ki­ta­mura said.

“We had no in­for­ma­tion what­so­ever.

“Our main con­cern is the chil­dren,” he added.

“There’s noth­ing else that’s come for­ward from any­one on the hockey team as of right now.”

Ki­ta­mura said the Huskies’ or­ga­ni­za­tion went through its nor­mal due dili­gence with no red flags raised.

“Mr. West did have a cur­rent po­lice check this past year and it came back with noth­ing on it,” said Ki­ta­mura.

The pres­i­dent said the or­ga­ni­za­tion has in­formed its govern­ing bod­ies about the sit­u­a­tion.

The Huskies have mod­i­fied the coach­ing struc­ture to al­low the team to com­plete the sea­son.

“Our main con­cern is that we pro­vide a healthy and safe and happy en­vi­ron­ment for chil­dren to play in,” said Ki­ta­mura.

West was a coach in the Corona­tion Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion from Oc­to­ber 2010 un­til April 2013.

The as­so­ci­a­tion sent an email to par­ents Sun­day alert­ing them to the charges against West.

It also en­cour­aged par­ents in the email to speak to their chil­dren about any con­cerns they may have.

The other three men ar­rested in­clude:

Gary Tay­lor, 74, of Hamil­ton is charged with two counts of pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy and mak­ing child pornog­ra­phy avail­able.

Stephen Lachance, 35, of Hamil­ton is charged with two counts of pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy.

Robert Sim­mons, 50, is charged with two counts of pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy and mak­ing child pornog­ra­phy avail­able.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion on In­ter­net child ex­ploita­tion who wants re­main anony­mous can con­tact Crime Stop­pers at 1-800-222-8477 or crimestop­per­shamil­ton.

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