Belleville, Ontario; The Belleville Police Service currently has 2 officers trained in Internet Child Exploitation (I.C.E.). Sgt Roy Kendall a 26 year veteran of the force is a Forensic Computer Analyst who works primarily the technical side of the investigations, digging deep into the electronic devices to gather the evidence of the alleged offences. Detective Sergeant Pat Kellar a 17 year veteran is an investigator working on-line and completing investigations within the City of Belleville. Both officers are assigned to other duties outside of I.C.E. investigations and are assisted by members of the Criminal Investigations Branch to conduct these many times complex investigations.
The Belleville Police Service has been a member of the Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet since 2013 being one of the 28 member police services in the Province. The Belleville Police Service has been involved in many multi-jurisdictional investigations most recently as part of Project Mercury that was spearheaded in Canada by the Toronto Police Service. Between 2014 and 2017, 16 Canadians were among 150 people worldwide who were arrested and charged with numerous offences including Child Pornography to Sexual assault. One of the arrested was a 36 year old Belleville man.
The Belleville Police Service has worked with a number of agencies across North America. Agencies include Cybertip.ca, United States Homeland Security and a number of US State Police agencies. The Belleville Police Service routinely works with our surrounding police agencies including the Ontario Provincial Police and Kingston Police Service. The Internet does not have borders and therefore neither do these internet investigations.
The Belleville Police receive some of their investigations through the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Center (NCECC) who are the Canadian Portal for Child Exploitation information sources from outside Canada. For example Microsoft of Facebook may identify potential child pornography being distributed and can identify a geographic location of the IP address. This information is forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency to begin an investigation. There are currently a number accused before the Belleville courts where investigations began in this manner.
In January of 2018 The Belleville Police Service was able to begin a number of proactive on-line investigations in an attempt to identify local online predators and persons in possession of Child Pornography. Some of the investigations involve using on-line undercover techniques; others involve specific techniques to identify known child pornography content on the internet.
On the 7th of February 2018 the after a 1 month long investigation the Belleville Police Service arrested 53 year old Belleville resident Peter Palmer. Palmer was charged with making Child pornography, making an arrangement to commit a sexual offence to a person under 16 years of age and luring a person under the age of 16 years. Palmer is currently before the courts.
On the 8th of May after a 2 month investigation the Belleville Police Service executed a search warrant and arrested 49 year old Dennis Christensen of Belleville charging him with Possession of Child Pornography, and making child pornography available. This investigation is still open and the potential for more charges exists.
On the 30th of May after a 2 and a half month investigation the Belleville Police Service arrested 56 year old James Fancy of Belleville was arrested and charged with Possession of Child Pornography and making child pornography available. This investigation is still open and the potential for more charges exists.
Along with the information from other agencies, proactive investigations the Belleville Police Service have numerous ongoing I.C.E investigations that began as other types of criminal investigations for example sexual assaults or criminal harassment investigations. A number of these investigations have now evolved into child exploitation investigations where real victims have been identified. The accused and the facts of the cases cannot be released to the media to protect those victims.
The Belleville Police Service has had the privilege of having an excellent relationship with the Hastings County Crown Attorney’s office. Crown Attorney Lee Burgess states “For the past several years, the Belleville Police Service has been actively engaged in child pornography, child luring, and other child exploitation crimes. Teamed with a seasoned investigator and a well-trained and experienced computer forensic investigator, who has been equipped with appropriate forensic tools, we have had exceptional success in prosecuting offenders who pose a significant risk to young people. Many of the results that we have achieved in our local courts have been recognized by the Provincial Strategy unit as significant decisions both in legal precedent and in obtaining denunciatory sentences. I am particular pleased with the results our partnership has obtained. Our workload has increased with the advent of new investigative tools, but that allows us to do that much more to protect children from perpetrators of crime.”
The Belleville Police Service is overwhelmed by the shear at the number of ICE investigations it is attempting to handle. The Belleville Police Services Board has approved a new ICE investigator position and the hope is that the position will be filed in the fall of 2018.
The Belleville Police Service wants the public to know that they have a number of active ICE investigations and anyone who is accessing, distributing or making child pornography in the City of Belleville will be identified using the latest technology and dealt with according to the law.
Anyone with information on Internet Child Exploitation can contact the Belleville Police Service, CrimeStoppers of Cybertip.ca.
“This Project has been made possible by a grant from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.”