Charges have been approved against a 66 year old Saanich man following a lengthy investigation into allegations that the man had used the Internet to make an arrangement to have a sexual relationship with a child under 16 years of age.
Norman Robert LEWIS appeared in Victoria Provincial Court on September 23. The matter was adjourned until early December 2013.
In May 2013, it is alleged that LEWIS communicated on an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) site with at least one other person. The other individual communicating with LEWIS online was an undercover operator, working for the Vancouver Police Department’s Counter Exploitation Unit.
Because this matter is still before the courts, specific information relating to the investigation cannot be shared. It is alleged that LEWIS communicated an interest to engage in sexual acts with a person under the age of 16 years old. Furthermore, it is alleged that LEWIS communicated with the undercover officer and allegedly shared digital images that, in the officers opinion, would have met with the definition of Child Pornography as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada.
In June 2013, investigators from the Saanich Police Family Protection Unit, Detective Division, were advised of the information obtained by the VPD undercover officer. A local investigation was launched when it was determined that LEWIS was a resident of Saanich.
After gathering further information, investigators applied for a warrant to search the residence of LEWIS. On August 21, 2013, a search warrant was executed at the residence of LEWIS and LEWIS was taken into custody. LEWIS was later released and ordered to attend court on September 23, 2013.
Crown has approved the following four charges: Accessing Child Pornography; Possession of Child Pornography; Distribution of Child Pornography; and Agreeing or Arranging to Commit a Sexual Act on a Person Under the Age of 16 years.
The last listed charge is a relatively new charge under the Criminal Code of Canada. The previous offence of Child Luring was expanded in May 2012 when a new law was enacted, specifically addressing circumstances where an accused would be alleged to have agreed or arranged to commit a sexual offence against a child. This legislation makes it a criminal offence to, by “means of telecommunication, agree with a person or make an arrangement with a person, to commit” a sexual offence, or abduction, of another person who is believed by the accused to be under the age of 16 years old.
LEWIS remains on several conditions while awaiting trial. Those conditions include: to abstain from communicating directly or indirectly with any person under the age of 18 years; not to attend to any daycare, park, school, recreation centre or area that persons under the age 18 years congregate; not to use or be in possession of any computer or device that affords access to the Internet; not to possess any pornographic material.
“We recognize, to the general public, that these allegations are shocking. We are extremely thankful for the information provided by the Vancouver Police Department which led to the arrest of this individual” Sgt. Steve Eassie said. “We are pleased that our investigators were able to act on the information, intervene, and hopefully prevent other children from potentially falling victim to these heinous acts.”
Anyone who has information or concerns about the online sexual exploitation of children is urged to contact Cybertip.ca, which is Canada’s national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children.
Sgt. Steve Eassie #158