By Jensen, Randy on October 1, 2020.
26 Albertans charged
in online child sexual exploitation investigations
A man from Lethbridge and another from Cardston are among the 26 suspects from across the province arrested by ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit for offences related to online child sexual exploitation.
Between June 20 and Sept. 17 ICE has charged 26 suspects with 63 offences. Most of the arrests came as the result of investigative referrals from the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Crime Centre, which works with internet and social media providers to track and investigate online instances of child sexual exploitation.
“In Alberta, those who participate in the exploitation of children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Government of Alberta will ensure our law enforcement has the tools and resources to track down child predators and bring them to justice,” said Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, in an ALERT news release. “On behalf of all law-abiding Albertans, I thank ALERT and the law enforcement organizations across the province that worked tirelessly to arrest and charge these criminals. Alberta’s justice system is here for all Albertans, especially for children victimized by sexual predators.”
“The internet isn’t anonymous and these arrests demonstrate ALERT’s willingness to travel to all corners of the province to make arrests, put predators behind bars, and keep kids safe,” added Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT chief executive officer.
ALERT said there is no definitive link between the suspects other than the nature of offences allegedly committed. Each of the suspects, including Sean Giles, 41, from Lethbridge, and Stephen Miehe, 28, from Cardston, were charged with at least one child pornography offence.
Among those charged were eight men from Edmonton, five from Calgary and three from Sherwood Park, including a 16-year-old young offender. Others hailed from across the province.
During the investigations and subsequent arrests, ICE worked in collaboration with a number of police agencies, including: Caribou Child and Youth Centre; Calgary Police Service; Edmonton Police Service; and various RCMP detachments, including Grande Prairie, Spruce Grove, Strathcona County, Wainright, Breton, Strathmore, Olds, Morinville, Cardston, Lake Louise, Fort Saskatchewan and Athabasca.
ICE is an integrated team that includes members of Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP. ICE 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.