July 21st, 2024

ALERT internet child exploitation unit rescues abused child

By MEDICINE HAT NEWS on December 16, 2023.

Two people have been arrested following an ALERT internet child exploitation investigation that led to the rescue of a child in southern Alberta.

The child’s mother is accused of sexual assault and other offences.

ICE arrested her Nov. 2 after conducting a search warrant at a Lethbridge home with other police agencies’ assistance, including the Medicine Hat Police Service, Taber Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service and Vauxhall RCMP.

ICE says it was led to the Lethbridge home after uncovering evidence of the alleged abuse from a case that took place earlier in the year in Barnwell and resulted in the arrest of a 41-year-old man. They say the two suspects were in a previous relationship and allege they sexually assaulted the child, in addition to sharing child sexual abuse materials.

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

Further investigation into this series of child sexual abuse materials revealed the materials were produced in Alberta, and ICE was able to identify a suspect and child being abused.

The 34-year-old Lethbridge woman, whose name is not being released in order to protect the identity of the victim, 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.

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