Lethbridge public school teacher faces child pornography charges
Published Thursday, February 23, 2017 1:14PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, February 23, 2017 6:22PM MST
A teacher at Lethbridge’s École La Vérendrye is facing child exploitation charges after police were notified that someone had uploaded child pornography images online in January.
The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) team last month saying that a social media user was uploading child sexual exploitation materials and an investigation was launched.
Investigators learned the suspect was a teacher and arrested 37-year-old Dwayne Schnell on Wednesday.
Police say Schnell teaches grades 7-12 at the Lethbridge school and he is now charged with possession, accessing and distributing child pornography.
“Currently, we’re in the early stages of our investigation and we strongly encourage the public or anyone with information or concerns to contact the police immediately,” said Cst. Jason Richmond. “We’ve contacted the school board and notified them of the investigation.”
“Every parent of the community received a letter informing them of the situation,” said School Superintendent Daniel Therrien. “We do have a team of specialists that will be at the school to support the students as well as the staff.”
Computers and electronic devices were seized from Schnell’s home and will be turned over for forensic investigation.
ICE continues to investigate and officials say there may be additional charges.
Schnell is scheduled to appear in court on Friday for a bail hearing.