June 18th, 2024

Lethbridge man awaits sentencing for possession of child pornography


By Delon Shurtz on May 29, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge man caught last year in a province-wide child pornography sting is set to be sentenced when he returns to court next month.
Sean William Giles, who was charged with possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography and distributing child pornography, pleaded guilty in April to possession of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced on that single charge June 15, when the Crown and defence are expected to present the court with an agreed statement of facts.
Giles was originally scheduled to have a sentencing hearing this week in Lethbridge provincial court before it was adjourned because of recent COVID restrictions. Giles was one of 26 men who were charged last year with a total of 63 offences relating to online child sexual exploitation.
A Cardston man, Stephen Miehe, was also caught in the sting and was sentenced earlier this month.
The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams’ ICE unit (internet child exploitation) made the arrests from June 20 to Sept. 17, 2020.
According to a news release issued by ALERT after the charges were laid, the probe into child pornography was assisted with referrals from the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Crime Centre, which works with Internet and social media providers to track online child sexual exploitation.
ICE also collaborated with a number of police agencies across Alberta during investigations and subsequent arrests.
Kaycee Madu, minister of justice and solicitor general, said in the release those who participate in the exploitation of children will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“Alberta’s justice system is here for all Albertans, especially for children victimized by sexual predators,” he said.
Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, the chief executive of ALERT, said the Internet isn’t anonymous, and the arrests demonstrate ALERT’s willingness to travel across the province “to make arrests, put predators behind bars and keep kids safe”.
There has been a rise in the number of investigative referrals over the past year, possibly related to digital dependency during COVID-19 isolation measures, ALERT speculates.
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