Group home worker charged with sex­u­ally as­sault­ing 11-year-old child in care

Fort McMurray Today - - ALBERTA NEWS - JONNY WAKE­FIELD jwake­[email protected]­

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.

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