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Southern Alberta school teacher arrested for child pornography offences
Published Friday, January 12, 2018 11:10AM MST
Last Updated Friday, January 12, 2018 3:05PM MST
The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams say that a 44-year-old elementary school teacher in southwestern Alberta has been arrested for child pornography offences.
ALERT says that Mark Anderson, a teacher at a Brocket area elementary school, has been charged with possessing, accessing and distributing child pornography.
Anderson is also involved in various youth-oriented community programs on the Piikani Nation Reserve such as minor sports and Scouts Canada.
A number of computers and electronic devices were seized from his home in Pincher Creek and will be analyzed as part of the investigation.
ALERT says they were first notified about the incident by a referral from the National Centre fo Missing and Exploited Children in July about a social media user who was reportedly uploading child sexual exploitation materials.
Constable Jason Richmond with ALERT's ICE Unit says the investigation moved ahead quickly once they determined that the suspect was a teacher.
"For the majority of the investigation we had no idea. It was a very recent discovery of our that he was. Granted, a lot of the times we don't know who is behind the keyboard per se and in this situation, because of the discoveries that we had, that's how we determined that it was him."
Richmond says Anderson won't be teaching at the school but doesn't know if that means he has been suspended or terminated from his job.
He says the Piikani School Board has sent counsellors to speak with students and parents about the situation but there is no indication that any physical offences took place at this point.
The investigation and charges are related to online offences, but ALERT's Internet Child Exploitation Unit is encouraging anyone with information about the case to come forward and speak to police to submit info through cybertip.ca.
Richmond said that in addition to the electronic devices seized from Anderson's home, authorities will also be looking at his Facebook account, which has a number of images of children posted on it.
"When we deal with them there are going to be a lot of things that are taken down off their servers and things that can be used for our investigation as well, if we find anything. So, those are all in the initial stages of the process as well, so it's going to be a little while but it's happening."
Anderson has been released from custody pending a court appearance on January 30, 2018.
Brocket is approximately two hours south of Calgary.