Group home worker charged with sexually assaulting 11-year-old child in care
A veteran police officer became visibly emotional Wednesday while discussing the case of an Edmonton group home worker charged with sexually assaulting an 11-year-old in his care.
On Wednesday, the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) announced charges including sexual exploitation, sexual assault and making child pornography against a 40-year-old Edmonton man who worked at a group home.
The man was arrested Nov. 2 after an investigation by ALERT’S Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit. Police believe there may be other victims.
“For a vulnerable population like our youth to be in a position where they’re offended upon by a person responsible for their care makes the circumstances much more exigent for us,” Staff Sgt. Stephen Camp said during a news conference.
He said the case was particularly “egregious” because it involved a person in a position of trust. At one point, Camp had to pause to collect himself while discussing the allegations.
‘Thousands of images’
Local police first learned of IP addresses being used to access child pornography from the RCMP’S National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, which said a person was using the devices to upload child porn to the internet.
Police eventually tracked one of the IP addresses to the group home.
After identifying and arresting the suspect, investigators conducted a forensic analysis of his computers and electronic devices and “uncovered evidence of sexual assault committed against a youth,” a Wednesday news release said.
“It was quickly determined the victim was a current group home resident,” Camp said.
Police did not identify the group home, which housed kids aged 11 to 17, to help protect the identity of the victim.
So far, they’ve found “thousands of images” on a number of devices, Camp said.
“We’re into double digits on the (number of ) devices. On a typical warrant, we’ll get ipads, hard drives from computers in the office, and then phones. There’s also USB sticks, SIM cards, all sorts of stuff that we can acquire from a search warrant because they’re all storage devices that can store child pornography.”
Investigators have been interviewing youth who previously had contact with the man, while Alberta Children’s Services is also supporting the investigation. The Edmonton police sexual assault section and the Zebra Centre for Child Protection are also involved.
“Part of this press conference is to let people know that if there are children out there that were overseen by this accused to come and report it,” he said.
Samer Temraz is charged with sexual exploitation, sexual assault, sexual interference, possession of child pornography, transmitting child pornography and making child pornography. He was to appear in court Dec. 5.
‘Some people slip by’
Children’s Service Minister Danielle Larivee said Wednesday they have “extensive” requirements for screening for staff, which would be reviewed in light of the charges.
“But the truth is, with all the screening processes in the world, inevitably some people slip by,” she said. “As soon as it comes to light, absolutely we immediately take it incredibly seriously and act on it.”
Camp said Temraz worked at the group home for around eight years, and that police are working to determine whether he worked at other group homes before that.
Children at the home where the man worked were “particularly vulnerable,” he said, including children with disabilities and other issues.
Camp did not specify the man’s job at the home, but said he was involved in general dayto-day care for children. His role sometimes required him to stay at the home overnight. There were also periods of time where he worked alone, and he would also bring kids on day trips outside the home.
ALERT is an integrated provincial policing unit that investigates guns, gangs, drugs and sexual offences against minors.
Staff Sgt. Stephen Camp speaks to media during a press conference at ALERT headquarters on Dec. 5, 2018. Police say a former youth group home worker, 40-year-old Samer Temraz, has been charged with making child pornography and sexual assault involving an 11-year-old victim.