Arrest of Mississauga high school teacher in sexual exploitation case highlights police demand for more resources to fight online predators
Two men in positions that would regularly place them in the presence of young women, children or vulnerable people were arrested and charged with child luring or child pornography this month by the Peel ICE unit.
The Peel Regional Police Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE) announced on June 21 that Daniel Hayes, a 40-year-old high school teacher in Mississauga, had been arrested in connection with a sexual exploitation investigation.
According to a PRP press release, between September and November 2019, Guelph resident Hayes allegedly repeatedly invited a youth to have “sex” with him, which the youth refused. Police believe there may be other victims, the statement said.
Just 11 days earlier, the Peel ICE unit announced charges against Sean Jackson, a 47-year-old man from Mississauga. Jackson was arrested in April for allegedly possessing and accessing child pornography. But further investigation revealed alleged sexual assault and voyeurism offenses related to his time as a camp counselor at Camp Kennebec in Arden, Ont. Camp Kennebec specializes in welcoming young people, adolescents and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Jackson has been a counselor and music teacher at camp for 19 years since 2002. Campers may have known him as “Rocker Sean”, states of liberation. He has also worked as an unregistered personal support worker in Peel Region.
Police believe there may be other victims.
Peel Regional Police are urging anyone with information about Sean Jackson (above) or Mississauga High School teacher Daniel Hayes to contact Special Victims Assistance Unit investigators at 905-453-2121 , ext. 3460. Anonymous information may also be submitted by calling Peel Crime Stoppers. at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or by visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca.
These recent arrests are just a sample of the work of the ICE unit which investigates child pornography and proactively prosecutes those who attempt to lure or sexually exploit children online through smuggling operations. infiltration. It is a job that has steadily increased in recent years, both in quantity and in complexity.
For example, more and more teenagers are being blackmailed into sexual exploitation operations. Extremely sophisticated criminal operations involve young people, often hooking up with teenagers using images of attractive girls and boys, with the predators pretending to be the person pictured. Sometimes information from social media is used to trick unwitting victims into believing that the attractive stranger knows them through a social circle or a distant connection.
Once the victim is tricked into communicating with the seemingly innocent and attractive caller, they are coerced into doing things online that will quickly be used to blackmail them.
Headlines across the country are filled with similar stories of extortion, after personal photos were shared by young people, unaware they will soon be blackmailed.
In what has been described as a global online crime network, teenagers have been targeted in these extortion attempts at an alarming rate in recent years.
Daniel Lints, a rural Manitoba teenager, killed himself hours after being caught in a blackmail scheme in February.
The 17-year-old received a message from what appeared to be a pretty girl on Snapchat.
He was convinced to send an explicit photo of himself and was immediately blackmailed. He committed suicide less than three hours after receiving the first message.
The story is becoming increasingly mainstream and illustrates just one of many types of internet cases that Peel’s ICE unit constantly has to deal with.
Between 2018 and 2019, the local police unit saw a 253% increase in referrals from the RCMP-run National Child Exploitation Crime Center (NCECC), which takes reports of sexual abuse material potential children found online and refer them to law enforcement agencies. in the jurisdiction where the activity takes place. In 2018, Peel received 156 referrals, a number that jumped to nearly 400 in 2019. A trend seen across Canada, NCECC saw a 566% increase in the number of referrals received between 2015 and 2018 In 2020, the number soared to close at 800 referrals – a jump fueled by pandemic restrictions keeping children indoors and online – before dropping slightly in 2021.
In an attempt to stave off this growing work pressure, Peel’s ICE unit is requesting that two additional investigators be added to the unit’s team. Currently, the unit consists of one detective, seven detective constables and an online luring investigator.
“In order to deal with the very high number of online child exploitation incidents, it is necessary to continuously increase the number of investigators”, a report that was presented to the Peel Police Services Board on Friday indicates. “The additional investigators will increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the unit, as new technologies and more sophisticated encryption create an increase in the time needed to investigate individual cases.”
At the end of 2021, the ICE unit was able to add an additional investigator thanks to the assistance of the federal government, which covered half of the salary and benefits of this additional agent. However, the funding expires this year. The unit also receives support from the Ontario government which covers 70% of the salary and benefits of the full-time decoy position, as well as officer training.
Cases of online exploitation have increased dramatically over the past decade, far outstripping police resources to combat these crimes.
(Image: Canadian Center Against Child Exploitation)
The Pointer has already reported that Peel’s ICE unit has hit a ceiling with the number of individuals it is able to arrest and prosecute in any given year, averaging approximately 47 offenders between 2014 and 2019. 2020 and 2021 have seen these arrest numbers decline. In 2021, the Peel ICE unit laid 77 charges and arrested 35 people. This decline is not due to a decrease in the frequency of these crimes, but to several factors impacting the work of the ICE unit, including: the growing size of child pornography collections among arrestees; the increasingly complex encryption methods used by pedophiles to conceal their online activity; and the time it may take to pursue these cases in court. Last year, Peel’s ICE unit appealed a child luring case all the way to the Supreme Court. The initial arrest took place in 2012. The entrapment appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
“Prosecuting one of them is like prosecuting a homicide, there’s so much they have to go through,” says Det. Andrew Ullock, the lead detective of Peel’s ICE unit.
Data from Canada’s National Child Exploitation Crime Center (NCECC) shows that the number of suspected exploitation or child pornography cases referred to Peel’s ICE unit decreased in 2021. But that number is misleading.
“This noted trend is believed to occur through the ability of users to go undetected on certain platforms due to the use of encryption. Therefore, a decline in the detection of child pornography results in a decline in the number of referrals made,” the recent ICE report states. “This type of technology creates challenges for investigators because the number of referrals does not necessarily reflect a decrease in child pornography consumption, but demonstrates a decrease in detection.”
Ullock previously told The Pointer that his unit is constantly training officers on new technologies and looking for ways to streamline their processes to make things as efficient as possible. Efficiency matters when officers are tasked with examining a growing body of alleged child pornography with collections reaching several terabytes, including thousands of images and videos.
According to the recent report, officers were trained on five additional networks where child pornography is now known to be traded, as well as training on improved on-site device triage methods to better determine when the electronic device might contain illegal material.
“This training improved on-site triage, which means faster detection of illegal child pornography and reduced seizures of unrelated devices,” the report said. “Through this training, ICE has already identified many suspects to be investigated in 2022.”
The request for additional resources comes at a time when Peel Regional Police and police services around the world are facing tough questions about funding levels.
In Peel Region, the police budget for this year reached $485 million, 94% of which goes to salaries and benefits, and an initial projection for 2023 showed a budget increase of 5.7%. While Chief Nishan Duraiappah has made changes to the way Peel Police prioritize spending — relying less on hiring more boots in the field, while trying to innovate police operations — he did not hesitate to bring in additional agents when needed.
This year, Peel is recruiting 26 additional uniformed officers at a cost of $22.4 million.
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