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Real-time Internet abuse case
November 2, 2006 6:09 PM   Subscribe

Arrest in real-time abuse case. "An undercover police officer in Toronto's child exploitation unit, who says he's seldom surprised what he sees any more, was shaken to the core Sunday when a suspected pedophile he was chatting with on-line allegedly began sexually assaulting a preschooler and sending images of the attack over the internet to him in real time." Detective Constable Paul Krawczyk: "My heart just started going, sweating, and I felt like throwing up." Police tracked down and arrested the man within an hour and a half.
posted by russilwvong (71 comments total)

 
Holy shit.
posted by cortex at 6:18 PM on November 2, 2006


I think I'm going to puke.
posted by tristeza at 6:19 PM on November 2, 2006


"Police were notified immediately and the man was arrested within an hour and 25 minutes of the call"

WTF? Have I been watching too much 24, or does that seem like an excessive amount of time for police to respond to an emergency call coming from within the police department?

Either way, I'm glad they caugh him.
posted by Occams Hammer at 6:21 PM on November 2, 2006


Not sure, but I'd imagine the stumbling block here would be obtaining the data (subpoena?) from the ISP. Either way, god, some real sick fucks in this world.
posted by rolypolyman at 6:30 PM on November 2, 2006


WTF? Have I been watching too much 24, or does that seem like an excessive amount of time for police to respond to an emergency call coming from within the police department?

Toronto is not St. Thomas. It is about 3 hours away from Toronto.
posted by srboisvert at 6:31 PM on November 2, 2006


I'm ashamed to live on the same street known as the internet as these sickos.
posted by Arcaz Ino at 6:33 PM on November 2, 2006


WTF? Have I been watching too much 24, or does that seem like an excessive amount of time for police to respond to an emergency call coming from within the police department?

I was really impressed. Presumably in that time, they had to locate a warrant, get in touch with the ISP's lawyers, have them identify the user of the IP and then locate and reach the address.

That's a lot to do in ninety minutes.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:34 PM on November 2, 2006


Presumably in that time, they had to locate a warrant, get in touch with the ISP's lawyers, have them identify the user of the IP and then locate and reach the address.

They did? Aren't there exceptions to these things when there's an ongoing sexual assault of a minor?
posted by Arcaz Ino at 6:36 PM on November 2, 2006


Too bad they couldn't have been about an hour and a half earlier. Better yet, years earlier!
posted by Pollomacho at 6:36 PM on November 2, 2006


They did? Aren't there exceptions to these things when there's an ongoing sexual assault of a minor?

yes, and that's probably why they woke up a judge to get the warrent and woke up a sysadmin to get the address. there's no magic button that will supply a cop with someone's address just because it's really, really important.

that would make a pretty rad firefox extension though...
posted by bizwank at 6:41 PM on November 2, 2006


Well, lets hope this is the new trend in online pedophilia, it would make child molesters much easier to catch.
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:41 PM on November 2, 2006


They did? Aren't there exceptions to these things when there's an ongoing sexual assault of a minor?

Yes, exigent circumstances allows them to kick the door in immediately. I don't think any judge in Canada would find that these circumstances didn't fit snugly into the limitations clause of the charter of rights and freedoms.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:47 PM on November 2, 2006


The flipside of the coin is the calls of "Beware the four horsemen of the infocalypse".

That being said, wow, good job cops.
posted by anthill at 6:51 PM on November 2, 2006


They did? Aren't there exceptions to these things when there's an ongoing sexual assault of a minor?

Perhaps. But in any case, at the time of the incident the police did not know the guy's address. There has to be some sort of process (if only the police visiting the ISP in person) -- if you just call up the ISP and ask for the info, how do they know that you really are the police and not a stalker?
posted by winston at 6:55 PM on November 2, 2006


Yes, exigent circumstances allows them to kick the door in immediately. I don't think any judge in Canada would find that these circumstances didn't fit snugly into the limitations clause of the charter of rights and freedoms.

Sure, but the person who'd have had to agree was a sysadmin, and they're probably not so up on their charter law. It's likely easier to get the warrant and get the info right upfront than to try to get the info with no legal backup in hand.

And even if they didn't need to get a warrant, I expect an hour and a half is probably still pretty impressive to get the information they needed, and get St Thomas cops together, and get over there.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:02 PM on November 2, 2006


That's just fucking terrifying. The pedophile should be sentenced to death.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 PM on November 2, 2006


The pedophile should be sentenced to death.

Can we not have this fucking argument?
posted by Mikey-San at 7:09 PM on November 2, 2006


Holy. fucking. god. How the fuck did he get a preschooler?

Jesus, I swear, I'm not letting my kid out of my sight until he goes to medical school.
posted by dejah420 at 7:20 PM on November 2, 2006


Oh, man. I hope the kid is OK. I'm glad that the perp/perv is behind bars.

I do not envy that police officer. That's gotta be one of the worst feelings in the world -- knowing that a child is being hurt and that you yourself can't put an immediate stop to it.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:20 PM on November 2, 2006


I heard the officer who watched the crime on the radio. He said that (even after a career of looking at thousands of disturbing images of child-abuse) he literally felt like puking.

I can't help but think that the response time seemed long, too, but I know that the police tried their best.
posted by Ricky_gr10 at 7:25 PM on November 2, 2006


Presumably in that time, they had to locate a warrant, get in touch with the ISP's lawyers, have them identify the user of the IP and then locate and reach the address.

So wait, you are saying the guy was under investigation for nearly a year and the cops didn't even have his address?

From the article:

The accused had been under investigation since January, when he allegedly shared pornographic images of children with an undercover officer, but police didn't have enough evidence at that time to arrest him.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:25 PM on November 2, 2006


yah, the reporting of anything internet is fucked up. the article also quotes some dilbert stating that internet anonymity emboldens criminals, while the arrest clearly demonstrates there is no such thing as internet anonymity.
posted by quonsar at 7:38 PM on November 2, 2006


How the fuck did he get a preschooler?

The man's identity is not being released in order to protect the identity of the child. I am inferring from that the he is at least a relative, if not her father.
posted by winston at 7:41 PM on November 2, 2006


Floppy disks were seized, so I guess we can rule out that the perp is a Mac user.

Kidding asside, that's just disgusting.
posted by emelenjr at 7:49 PM on November 2, 2006


This cop and his department are really impressive. They've been discussed on Mefi before and were the team behind releasing photos last year that had the girl Pshopped out to see if anyone recognized the hotels and other locations that the crimes took place in.
posted by dobbs at 7:59 PM on November 2, 2006


I managed an abuse desk for about 5 years, I always dreaded that a call like this could come in. Thankfully nothing this urgent ever came up. We had a couple of really scary ones, but nothing this appalling.

The world has some sick fuckers in it.
posted by quin at 8:14 PM on November 2, 2006


God, what a horrifying story.
posted by squidfartz at 8:25 PM on November 2, 2006



Holy. fucking. god. How the fuck did he get a preschooler?

Jesus, I swear, I'm not letting my kid out of my sight until he goes to medical school.


Yes! YES!! The fear... feel the fear growing in you... nourishing you... insulating you... protecting you.

Obey the fear, wherever it leads you.
posted by squirrel at 8:26 PM on November 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Just to up the disgust quotient, here's a story about a guy who raped his mother.

The world is filled with wonderful people, ain't it?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:37 PM on November 2, 2006


Just to up the disgust quotient, here's a story about a guy who raped his mother.

There was a, believe it or not, more disturbing mother-raper story this week (though I can't remember where I saw it): the perp did it to get back at his brother.
posted by dobbs at 9:11 PM on November 2, 2006


Ah, family.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:14 PM on November 2, 2006


here's a story about a guy who raped his mother.

Motherfucker!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:20 PM on November 2, 2006


Dobbs, pretty cool that this was the same group of cops.

This is not something I say often, but yay cops.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:24 PM on November 2, 2006


I think 90 minutes from seeing this online to an arrest is pretty good time.
posted by justkevin at 9:50 PM on November 2, 2006


I think 90 minutes is pretty impressive.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:53 PM on November 2, 2006


Why is this any more disgusting/weird/horrifying/traumatizing to you-the-viewer than any other child sex crime?
posted by blacklite at 9:53 PM on November 2, 2006


PeterMcDermott : Motherfucker!

You suck. This thread is chilling and depressing. You aren't supposed to make me laugh out loud.
posted by quin at 9:57 PM on November 2, 2006


"Group W's where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! "
posted by kid ichorous at 10:17 PM on November 2, 2006


dejah420: Holy. fucking. god. How the fuck did he get a preschooler?

Statistically speaking, probably he or a close relative made the preschooler.
posted by Bugbread at 10:33 PM on November 2, 2006


blacklite: "Why is this any more disgusting/weird/horrifying/traumatizing to you-the-viewer than any other child sex crime?"

Probably the realtime factor.
posted by Bugbread at 10:36 PM on November 2, 2006


Statistically speaking, probably he or a close relative made the preschooler.

My vote would be that he at best only supplied the raw materials.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:45 PM on November 2, 2006


Just when you think nothing can shock and disgust you anymore... Holy shit.
posted by homunculus at 11:19 PM on November 2, 2006


Thankfully they didn't go after the wrong person.
posted by homunculus at 11:27 PM on November 2, 2006


Thanks for that dobbs - that was a really interesting and commendable story - as much as these sad manifestations of humanity can be interesting and have commendable angles. Poor kid(s).
posted by peacay at 11:58 PM on November 2, 2006


What does it say about ME that I was drawn to the sentence :

""My heart just started going, sweating, and I felt like throwing up," he said. "You actually have the child right there and you know that it's happening right then and there, and your looking into that child's eyes and you know that you have to put a stop it."

and I was pissed that a newspaper reported would use the word "your" instead of "you're"?

Does newspaper reporting require more than a 5th grade education these days?
posted by newfers at 12:36 AM on November 3, 2006


Does newspaper reporting require more than a 5th grade education these days?

That joke is really bad taste in a thread about pedophiles.
posted by public at 12:52 AM on November 3, 2006


What does it say about ME that I was drawn to the sentence :


That we should deal with your kind before we get to the lawyers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:04 AM on November 3, 2006


90 minute response time? More like 9 month response time. He'd shared kiddie porn with an undercover officer in January, why wasn't he picked up then? Does it take that long to get an address from an ISP? The 90 minute response tells me that they could have picked this guy up a long time ago but didn't.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 4:14 AM on November 3, 2006


That joke is really bad taste in a thread about pedophiles.

yes, because pedophile-hatred is sacrosanct.
posted by quonsar at 4:21 AM on November 3, 2006


He'd shared kiddie porn with an undercover officer in January, why wasn't he picked up then?

Perhaps he hid his tracks using anonymous proxies or other such things that work more easily for e-mail than for real-time video streaming.

The 90 minute response tells me that they could have picked this guy up a long time ago but didn't.

I see absolutely no evidence that says he was identifiable prior to the real-time video. Unless you know something that is not contained in the article, you are making vile accusations with no actual knowledge.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 4:57 AM on November 3, 2006


newfers: "Does newspaper reporting require more than a 5th grade education these days?"

public: "That joke is really bad taste in a thread about pedophiles."

quonsar: "yes, because pedophile-hatred is sacrosanct."

Quonsar, I'm disappointed in you. Didn't you notice that newfer's comment was serious, and public's comment was the joke?
posted by Bugbread at 5:11 AM on November 3, 2006


>Holy. fucking. god. How the fuck did he get a preschooler?

As others have pointed out - statistically it is most likely someone related to the victim - and typically male. Father, brother, uncle, etc. I've attended an overview session of the TPS child exploitation unit given by Paul Gillespie, and this was made pretty clear.

>90 minute response time

That's pretty good, considering that this was inter-force and in another jurisdiction. (TPS = Toronto Police Force, OPP = Ontario Provincial Police)

When you consider the sheer size, scope and numbers of perpetrators - it is mind-boggling. The current estimate is that there is somewhere between 50-70,000 unique child predation victims worldwide. The sheer torrent of material makes identifying a victim very very very very difficult.

Congratulations to Detective Constable Paul Krawczyk - awesome job.
posted by jkaczor at 5:48 AM on November 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


newfers: Thats a direct quote from the officer, so, its not the journalist's words. He could've thrown a [sic] in there but that hardly seems necessary for a missing contraction.
posted by rsanheim at 5:52 AM on November 3, 2006


If only the NSA (or Canada's equivilent, if it even matters) had unwarranted, real-time access to everyone's internet usage. Maybe then we could have stopped this in under 90 minutes!

Won't someone think of the children?
posted by kableh at 5:57 AM on November 3, 2006


The pedophile should be sentenced to death.

Can we not have this fucking argument?


Who's arguing?
posted by Scoo at 6:12 AM on November 3, 2006


Quonsar, I'm disappointed in you. Didn't you notice that newfer's comment was serious, and public's comment was the joke?

nah, flew right over my head. it was early...
posted by quonsar at 6:44 AM on November 3, 2006


emelenjr: "Floppy disks were seized, so I guess we can rule out that the perp is a Mac user."

And we can rule in that he's never been to a Best Buy, Circuit City, etc..

As the father of a five-year-old, it amazes me; the level of naivety and/or depravity that her parents have sunk to to allow something like this to occur. Kudos to the police for their quick action.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:46 AM on November 3, 2006


(even after a career of looking at thousands of disturbing images of child-abuse)

I realize that their job is one that has to be done, but seeing shit like that day after day has got to take it's toll. Just hearing about it makes me (momentarily) despair for humanity. If it was my job it'd make me hate the world. I hope cops are rotated in and out of that unit, just for their own sanity.
posted by jonmc at 6:56 AM on November 3, 2006


How the fuck did he get a preschooler?
As people pointed out, statistically, he was likely a relative, but the article does state:

"The girl was found in the home at the time of the arrest and is now safe with her family."

Maybe an uncle or cartaker, but doubt it was the dad/brother or that comment would seem strange.
posted by Crash at 7:32 AM on November 3, 2006


Ok, maybe he was the dad.
posted by Crash at 7:35 AM on November 3, 2006


To add a bit more to the 90 minutes being reasonable point. St. Thomas is a small low density town with a population of 32K. There is a very strong chance that this individual lived in an outlying area that could easily take quite a bit of time to get to. Not being a metro area there isn't as high a ratio of police available either. The on duty officers could well have been out doing traffic duty on the highways (or what passes for one between London and St. Thomas).

As for not arresting the man for passing child porn, I am not sure but that might not be against the law in Canada. The officers were probably looking for evidence of the production of child porn which definitely is. It's not a topic I really pay attention to so I may be wrong.
posted by srboisvert at 7:47 AM on November 3, 2006


If it were his daughter, wouldn't there have been an incest charge in there? The first article outlined the charges and I didn't see anything about that, but I don't know much about Canadian law.

Also: [...] the undercover officer, who had been posing as a pedophile since January [...]

Now that has got to be a really hard part of your job. It would make me feel so awful to have to say that stuff and make it convincing. Ugh.

Interesting timing with last night's CSI episode, BTW.
posted by etoile at 8:21 AM on November 3, 2006


That poor baby. I feel ill.
posted by thekilgore at 8:31 AM on November 3, 2006


etoile: Now that has got to be a really hard part of your job. It would make me feel so awful to have to say that stuff and make it convincing. Ugh.

I figure they probably look at it like an actor would, but with even more motivation. An actor playing a murderer/child molestor/rapist/whathaveyou has to play a horrible part convincingly, with only a big paycheck or an academy award as incentive. For an undercover cop, the incentive is putting a murderer/child molestor/rapist behind bars.

The part I would find sucky is the part where you are acting, but you know the other folks around you aren't actors. That is, the "saying that stuff and making it convincing" part wouldn't be much different from what happens in movie production every day. The "having it be responded to by people who aren't acting" would be the really hard part.
posted by Bugbread at 9:09 AM on November 3, 2006


CBC. "I wanted to reach through the monitor and grab the child."

dobbs, thanks for pointing out that this particular unit--the Toronto Police's child exploitation unit--has been discussed before on MetaFilter. Previous post.

I'm a parent, but I know that statistically speaking, my children are much more likely to be killed or injured in a car accident. Child predators have been around long before the Internet, of course (I remember the Clifford Olson case from when I was a kid), but fortunately they're rare. What's really new is that everyone is on the Internet these days, including pedophiles. It's nice to see that the police are there too.

What caught my attention was imagining what it must have been like for the cop. MetaFilter's tracked people down before (e.g. airnxtz), but not like this.
posted by russilwvong at 9:26 AM on November 3, 2006


Actually - in that previous post mentioned by dobbs & russilwvong - they did find and rescue the victim - not only did someone correctly identify the hotel, but they knew it had been renovated since the photos were taken, so that fact even helped 'date' the photos.

Actually - that thread isn't the only one, where the TPS child exploitation unit has been mentioned on MeFi.

It is incredibly hard on the law enforcement professionals involved. Unfortunately, as someone else suggested - I don't think they get rotated in and out of the unit.
posted by jkaczor at 9:44 AM on November 3, 2006


"It is incredibly hard on the law enforcement professionals involved. Unfortunately, as someone else suggested - I don't think they get rotated in and out of the unit.
posted by jkaczor at 9:44 AM PST "

I think it takes a very special kind of cop to deal with sex crimes day in and day out without going insane.

I'm not a cop, but I think it'd take about a week for me to just get a machine gun and go hunting.
posted by merelyglib at 11:44 AM on November 3, 2006


Pollomacho writes "Yes, exigent circumstances allows them to kick the door in immediately. I don't think any judge in Canada would find that these circumstances didn't fit snugly into the limitations clause of the charter of rights and freedoms."

homunculus writes "Thankfully they didn't go after the wrong person."

This is why any sys admin who know his ass from his elbow is going to require the police to provide a warrant.

Crash writes "Maybe an uncle or cartaker, but doubt it was the dad/brother or that comment would seem strange."

Or the parents are divorced or obsfucecation on the part of the police, they have no requirement to tell the truth.
posted by Mitheral at 11:55 AM on November 3, 2006


This is why any sys admin who know his ass from his elbow is going to require the police to provide a warrant.

Sure, but don't you think they gat that warrant back in January? How about last month when the guy sent pics again? Don't you think the first thing they did when they started investigating this guy was find out his address?
posted by Pollomacho at 5:21 PM on November 3, 2006


bugbread, you're absolutely right, especially that last sentence. Although I imagine actors playing sexual offenders have the added difficulty of being seen - a text-based interaction requires nuanced written tone of voice, but you can have a disgusted look on your face while you're doing it.

I don't suppose I envy either job, really.
posted by etoile at 12:43 AM on November 4, 2006


More like 9 month response time. He'd shared kiddie porn with an undercover officer in January, why wasn't he picked up then?

I'll tell you why: this is why.

Because if they'd picked him up 9 months ago when he was just sharing images, that's probably all they'd be able to prosecute him for. Unless his mug was in the photos, an argument could be made that he was just relaying images he "found" on the internet. That's two counts: possession of child pornography and distrubution of child pornography.

As distateful as this stuff is, cops have bigger fish to fry than the random deviants who find stuff online and redistribute it. They really want to get the guys making this stuff. They probably felt (as in, hunch) he was producing the material, and were slowly amassing more evidence before charging him. Amazing how a crime in action can lubricate the rusty, slowly grinding gears of justice.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:55 AM on November 4, 2006


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