April 22nd, 2018

Brocket elementary school teacher facing child porn charges


By Lethbridge Herald on January 12, 2018.

Const. Jason Richmond speaks with reporters Thursday following an investigation by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team Internet Child Exploitation unit that resulted in an elementary school teacher in Brocket being charged with child exploitation offences. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

J.W. Schnarr
Lethbridge Herald
jwschnarr@lethbridgeherald.com
An elementary school teacher in Brocket has been charged with child exploitation offences in regards to online activity involving child pornography.
Mark Anderson, 44, of Pincher Creek, was arrested Thursday following an investigation by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team Internet Child Exploitation Unit with the assistance of Pincher Creek RCMP, Piikani Nation RCMP and Lethbridge Police Service.
Brocket is located in southwest Alberta, between Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod.
Anderson teaches at Napi’s Playground Elementary School and is also involved in various youth-oriented community programs on the Piikani Nation Reserve, such as minor sports and Scouts Canada.
Anderson has been charged with possessing, accessing and distributing child pornography.
Computers and electronic devices were seized from Anderson’s Pincher Creek home and will be the subject of forensic examination.
The investigation began in July 2017 when ICE received a referral from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children concerning a social media user uploading child sexual exploitation materials.
“We conducted an investigation to identify the user of those profiles and recently learned that he was a teacher in Brocket, Alberta,” said Const. Jason Richmond, an LPS officer seconded to ALERT.
It was only in the past few days police learned the suspect is an elementary school teacher.
“While the investigation is strictly related to online charges, we still encourage the public to contact us if they have any information about Mark Anderson they think would be relevant,” said Richmond.
Richmond said Anderson will no longer be teaching at the school. He was also told the Piikani Board of Education has counsellors going to homes in order to speak to families who need to talk it over.
Police have no indication that any of the images discovered so far originated in southern Alberta.
Richmond said at this point in the investigation, there is no way to determine just how much material will be found.
“Right now, we just have a small portion of the images and everything that was downloaded, and we’re going to continue our investigation of his devices, which will yield — I believe — more images and video,” said Richmond.
While the investigation and charges are related to online offences, ICE is encouraging anyone with information about this case to come forward and contact police. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact local police or cybertip.ca.
ICE is an integrated team consisting of Lethbridge Police, Calgary Police, Medicine Hat Police and RCMP members, and investigates offences involving child pornography, any computer-related child sexual abuse, child luring over the internet, voyeurism involving victims under the age of 18, and child sex trade/tourism.
The Herald reached out out the Peigan Board of Education for comment, but calls were not returned by press time.
Anderson is expected to appear in court on Jan. 30.
Follow @JWSchnarrHerald on Twitter

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