Dozens of people from all over Ontario have been charged in a wide-ranging child-pornography bust, and police say they’re going after others.
Ontario Provincial Police said Thursday 213 charges have been laid against 60 people. The charges included sexual assault, child luring as well as distributing and producing child pornography. Three young offenders were among those charged.
Illegal drugs and weapons were seized during the raids, police said, which took place in recent days.
In addition to the arrests, police have identified 22 victims.
Det.-Sgt. Frank Goldschmidt, co-ordinator of the provincial strategy against online child exploitation, called it “one of the largest co-ordinated efforts of its kind in Ontario.”
More arrests and identified victims are likely as the investigation continues, police said.
“The most fundamental responsibility of any society is to protect its children,” Scott Tod, acting commissioner of the OPP, said at a news conference held in Vaughan, Ont.
“Child pornography is the sexual abuse of children. Every image of child pornography represents a child victim. Every trading or transmission of the image represents a re-victimization of that child.”
Those arrested came from across the province, including Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, Ottawa, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. Those charged ranged in age from 16 to 69, held various occupations, including one who was a daycare worker.
Tod added: “The sweep carried out over the past few days serves as another wake-up call to those who commit these monstrous crimes against children. The provincial strategy will stop at nothing to hunt down child predators and eliminate the threat they pose to children in our communities. You cannot hide your crime. You cannot hide your identities.”
Police showed a graphic of a map of Ontario with the locations of 8,940 IP addresses police have identified as suspected of having been involved in accessing or sharing child pornography.
“I think quite clearly this demonstrates the extent of the problem that we have in the province of Ontario, and to note of the 8,940 addresses that you see before you upon the screen, in the last couple of days, we’ve managed to arrest 60,” Goldschmidt said.