A child has been rescued and a woman and man arrested following what Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams describe as a complex investigation of sex offences against a child.
Alberta Children’s Services is involved in the case and the child is receiving specialized support services. The mother’s name will not be released to protect the child’s identity.
A search warrant was conducted at a Lethbridge home on Nov. 2, and the Internet Child Exploitation unit arrested a 34-year-old woman. Evidence of the alleged abuse was discovered through an investigation that led to the arrest of a 41-year-old Barnwell man in September.
ICE believes the suspects were previously in a relationship and sexually assaulted the child, along with sharing child sexual abuse materials.
The Barnwell search and subsequent arrest were the result of a tip about child pornography being shared on Facebook by an Alberta suspect was shared with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.
“A forensic analysis of computers seized from the Barnwell home identified nearly half a million photos and videos of child sexual abuse materials,” ALERT reports. ICE identified unique materials believed to have been created by the accused, and, with further investigation, the suspect and child being abused were identified.
The child’s mother is accused of sexual assault, sexual interference, making child pornography, distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography.
She has been released from custody with a court date set for Dec. 19 in Lethbridge.
The Barnwell man is charged with sexual assault, making child pornography, accessing child pornography and possessing child pornography. He has also been released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court in Taber on Jan. 16.
Assisting the ICE unit were Taber Polic Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service and Vauxhall RCMP.
If you have information about this case or any child exploitation situation, please get in touch with your local police. Anonymous tips can be reported through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).