July 18th, 2024

City woman among two accused of sexual assault of child

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on December 15, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

A complex investigation from the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams Internet Child Exploitation, with help from multiple agencies, has resulted in the rescue of a child and two arrests.

ALERT said Thursday that after a search warrant was conducted at a Lethbridge home on Nov. 2, the child’s mother who is accused of sexual assault among other offences was arrested.

The woman’s name will not be released to protect the identity of the child.

ICE was led to the Lethbridge home after uncovering evidence of the alleged abuse from a search at a Barnwell home on Sept. 19 that resulted in the arrest of a 41-year-old man.

The Barnwell search was prompted after a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which shared information about an Alberta suspect uploading child pornography via Facebook.

A forensic analysis of computers seized from the Barnwell home identified nearly half a million photos and videos of child sexual abuse materials. Among this vast collection, ICE identified a series of materials they believed were unique and possibly created by the accused.

Further investigation revealed that the materials were produced in Alberta and ICE was able to identify a suspect and the child being abused.

ICE believes that the two suspects were in a previous relationship and sexually assaulted the child, in addition to sharing child sexual abuse materials.

The 34-year-old Lethbridge woman has been charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, making child pornography, distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. She was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 19 in Lethbridge.

 The 41-year-old Barnwell man has been charged with sexual assault, making child pornography, accessing child pornography and possessing child pornography. He was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 16 in Taber.

Multiple agencies including Lethbridge Police Service, Taber Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service and Vauxhall RCMP helped ALERT with the investigation.

Anyone with information about this case, or any child exploitation situation is asked to contact their local police or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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