January 21, 2015 - 7:00 AM
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - A former employee with British Columbia's Ministry of Children and Family Development is facing child pornography charges over allegations that occurred while he was still working with the department, the RCMP confirmed Tuesday.
Edward Owen Berry, 51, is charged with accessing child pornography and possession of child pornography, the RCMP said in a news release.
Berry, who has homes in Prince George, B.C., and Vancouver, was arrested last December after an investigation that began six months earlier, the RCMP said. He was released on conditions that he not have any contact with children under 16 and not possess any device that can access the Internet.
He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 28. None of the allegations have been tested in court.
Berry was a high-level manager in with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, according to the B.C. College of Social Workers. The college said Berry's job did not involve frequent contact with children.
The ministry issued a statement that, while it did not refer to Berry by name, confirmed a former ministry worker is facing criminal charges. The worker stopped receiving a paycheque on Dec. 17, a day after Berry's arrest, and as of Jan. 7 he no longer works for the government, the ministry said.
Berry ran last fall to be on the B.C. College of Social Workers' board of directors, though he lost. In a candidate profile on the college's website, Berry said he was responsible for child and youth mental health, youth justice, and children and youth with special needs in the northeast and north-central regions of B.C.
John Mayr, the registrar with the B.C. College of Social Workers, said the college will wait until the legal process is finished before considering whether it needs to take any action.
"Based on (the release conditions) and his position that he was in the ministry, which would have a low chance of contact with children, it does not appear that the college needs to take extraordinary action to protect the public," he said.
In a written statement, the Minister of Children and Family Development, Stephanie Cadiuex, said she couldn't comment on the specific allegations, but she said the ministry is co-operating with police.
"The nature of those charges are deeply concerning to all of us, including to members of the ministry's dedicated staff who work every day to make a positive difference in the life of a child," the statement said.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015