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10 men arrested in Ontario child sexual exploitation ring, 39 charges laid

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A total of 39 charges have been laid and 10 men arrested, including four from northern Ontario, in a online child luring and sexual exploitation investigation dubbed Project Limestone, police say.

One of the men arrested is a repeat offender who was out on bail.

Evidence seized from accused child predators in a multi-jurisdictional sexual exploitation investigation in Ontario dubbed Project Limestone. (Ontario Provincial Police)

"It only took 1.5 hours for an adult to begin speaking to an undercover investigator posing as a child online and arriving at a location to meet them. Others arrived at a pre-set location with candy, toys and sexual paraphernalia," Ontario Provincial Police said in a social media post Thursday.

"This all occurred during a four-day period." 

A box of condoms seized as evidence from an accused child predator in a multi-jurisdictional sexual exploitation investigation in Ontario dubbed Project Limestone. (Ontario Provincial Police)

Project Limestone was a collaborative effort between OPP and municipal police agencies in Greater Sudbury, North Bay, Sault ste. Marie, Durham, York and Peel that took place between Sept. 12 and 15.

"Investigators utilized undercover techniques to access online chatrooms and social media applications designed for children in order to identify, locate and arrest persons looking to sexually exploit children," OPP said.

Two of the suspects arranged to meet undercover investigators who were posing online as mothers with young children.

"Six individuals were arrested when they showed up to a pre-set location to meet with the investigators posing as children online," police said.

Evidence seized from accused child predators in a multi-jurisdictional sexual exploitation investigation in Ontario dubbed Project Limestone. (Ontario Provincial Police)

A total of 55 devices were seized between the 10 suspects.

"The amount of people that are looking to meet with children in real life for sexual purpose is definitely disturbing," OPP Det. Staff Sgt. Tim Brown said in an interview with CTV News.

Here is a list of the suspects, their charges and court status:

  • A 49-year-old from North Bay is charged with luring a person under 16, sending sexually explicit material to a child, distributing child pornography and two counts of possessing child pornography. He was released on bail with conditions and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 21.
  • A 30-year-old from Sudbury is charged with arranging to commit sexual offences against a child and making child pornography. He was released on bail with conditions and next court date is pending.
  • A 37-year-old from Sudbury is charged with making child pornography, arranging to commit sexual offences against a child, counselling to commit a sexual offence and interference against a child. He was released on bail with conditions and next court date is pending.
  • A 65-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie is charged with arranging to commit sexual offences against a child, counselling to commit a sexual offence against a child and two counts of making child pornography. He was spoken to and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 8 in Sudbury.
  • A 67-year-old from Fergus is charged with arranging to commit sexual offences against a child and failing to comply with a release. He was held for bail and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 3 in Guelph.
  • A 31-year-old from Vaughan is charged with  two counts each of luring a person under 16 for sexual assault and sexual interference and one count of invitation to sexual touching. He was released on bail with conditions and next court date is Nov. 16 in Newmarket.
  • A 29-year-old from Vaughan is charged with Luring a person under 16 for sexual assault, sexual interference and invitiation for sexual touching. He was released on bail with conditions and next court date is Nov. 16 in Newmarket.
  • A 52-year-old from Whitby is charged with luring a person under 16 for invitation for sexual touching and making available pornography  to a person under 16. He was released on bail with conditions and next court date is Nov. 16 in Newmarket.
  • A 25-year-old from Markham is charged with making written child pornography and two counts each of luring a person under 16 for sexual assault and sexual interference and one count each of luring a person under 16 for making child pornography and an invitation for sexual touching. He was released on bail with conditions and next court date is Nov. 16 in Newmarket.
  • A 43-year-old from Massachusetts, U.S., is charged with sexual assault, incest, making written child pornography and counselling another person to commit an indictable offence. He is still under investigation and local police will be conducting a forensic examination.

"With the increase in technology and social media and what not, it increases the chances of individuals who like to prey on children," said Ins. Scott McFarlane of North Bay Police Service in an interview.

"The North Bay Police Service has been part of a provincial joint forces team, called the provincial strategy, for some time."

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