Southern Alberta teacher admits to child porn

By Patrick Burles - Lethbridge News Now
July 17, 2018 - 7:53am

LETHBRIDGE – A 44-year-old Pincher Creek man who had been teaching fourth grade at Napi’s Playground Elementary School in Brocket, has pleaded guilty to charges of making and possessing child pornography.

Mark Anderson entered the pleas Monday, July 16, in Lethbridge Provincial Court.

Through an agreed statement of facts, the court was informed that Google tipped off the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children last July, after they noted that a Gmail account had uploaded an image of child porn.

Through an investigation, ALERT’s (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams) Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit was able to trace the internet address to Anderson’s Pincher Creek home, where they seized a number of electronics and took him into custody. Police also seized electronics from Anderson’s classroom as well.

During a media availability with police, they stated that the investigation was accelerated as soon as they learned that Anderson was a teacher.

A review of the devices seized – both from his home and classroom – uncovered hundreds of images and some videos of child porn with the children in them ranging in age from three to 16. It was noted that some of the images were duplicates contained on various electronics. They also found that there had been certain file sharing programs on one of the computers at one point, but that they had been deleted and another program had been used to purge the information.

Anderson also provided a statement to police, in which he admitted that he couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t attracted to children.

In regard to the making of child pornography charge, Anderson admitted to hiding a cellphone that obtained two videos of a girl – estimated to be between the ages of 13 and 16 – while she showered.

After having those facts entered before the court, defence lawyer James Rouleau asked for the preparation of a FAOS report (Forensic Assessment Outpatient Service). He explained that he would like to get a medical determination of Anderson’s risk of recidivism. Judge Paul Pharo ordered the report and made a point of requesting that it include a risk assessment.

The matter was then adjourned to Sept. 18, as both the Crown and defence noted that FAOS reports generally take between eight to 12 weeks to prepare. On that date they intend to get an update on the report and then adjourn it to another day for sentencing.

Anderson will remain out of custody while attending the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre in Calgary.

He has been suspended by the Peigan Board of Education and is barred from having any contact with students or going onto school property.

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