August 22, 2013 - 3:44 PM
VERNON - A 50-year-old Vernon man was arrested for child exploitation following a covert online investigation.
The B.C. RCMP Integrated Child Exploitation Unit intercepted the man Aug. 16 at a fast food restaurant, where he planned to meet the "boy" he met online. What the man didn't realize is the boy he was meeting was actually a covert investigator with the unit. Over a couple weeks the man allegedly engaged in dialogue with the supposed boy that over time became more sexual in nature.
Eventually the man arranged to meet the boy at a local Vernon fast food restaurant where he was intercepted by a number of investigators from the unit as well as the Integrated Sexual Predator Observation team who travelled from the Lower Mainland.
With the help of the Vernon RCMP, the man was arrested for luring. He was later released with strict conditions governing his contact with children and his access to the internet. An electronic device was seized and is being analyzed.
The unit reports they have no evidence at this time that any local children were directly victimized by this man. The investigation however is ongoing.
"While we do everything we can to proactively identify and apprehend predators who are actively trying to meet with children, this investigation serves as a grim reminder for parents," head of the Integrated Child Exploitation Unit, Sgt. Mat Van Laer says. "Child predators will go to great lengths to win the trust of their intended victims. We advise parents to educate children about possible dangers online, and oversee their computer use."
A full report is expected to be forwarded to the Crown shortly. The man who was arrested is scheduled to appear Sept. 19 for a first appearance at which time formal charges will be heard.
Anyone with tips about online exploitation of children can contact local police or report online to www.cybertip.ca.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013