Burnaby man charged in nationwide child porn investigation

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A 23-year-old Burnaby man is among those charged in a nationwide child pornography investigation.

Across Canada, more than 150 people were arrested or are under investigation as part of Operation Snapshot III, which began in February and involved over 40 police agencies, said a national RCMP press release.

Five children were rescued in the operation which targeted child sex offenders who collect, possess, share, make available, distribute and produce child sexual exploitation material online.

It involved 167 investigations across Canada leading to the seizure of thousands of computers and hard drives with nearly two million images or videos.

Of those investigations, 29 were in British Columbia of which 22 were in communities policed by RCMP, said E Division spokesman Sgt. Rob Vermeulen.

Two of the children rescued were in B.C. and those investigated include 11 B.C. men facing a total of 32 charges, Vermeulen said.

The Burnaby man arrested has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography. A 35-year-old Surrey man faces one charge of luring.

Other B.C. suspects include:

• a 29-year-old Duncan man, charged with possession and accessing child porn;

• a 29-year-old Kelowna man charged with luring and making child porn;

• a 43-year-old Nanaimo man charged with possession and making available child porn, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation and sexual assault;

• a 31-year-old Revelstoke man charged with possession and accessing child porn, producing a controlled substance, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation and sexual assault;

• a 45-year-old Sidney man charged with possession and making available child porn;

• a 64-year-old man, also of Sidney, charged with possession, accessing and making available child porn;

• two Vernon men, aged 46 and 49, each charged with possession, accessing and making available child porn;

• a 65-year-old Williams Lake man, charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

Vermeulen said the suspects' names are not yet being released because a number of investigations are still ongoing and they do not want to identify the child victims. He expects some information to be the subject of publication bans as a result.

He encouraged parents to talk to their kids about Internet safety.

"We do such a good job of 'stranger danger' in the real world. I think we sometimes forget children are spending a lot of time in the online world now and so we need to have that same chat with them about strangers online," Vermeulen said.

"There's a lot of so-called friends and followers on social media but they're unknown, you don't know who they are … they should be treated like you would treat any stranger and certainly not divulge information."

He suggested parents visit to learn more.

"The best defence is awareness, really," Vermeulen said.

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