A St. Albert man is facing charges along with a dozen others after a child luring sting.
On Wednesday, the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE) announced 69 charges again 13 men, who live mostly in Alberta.
Although ALERT Staff Sgt. Stephen Camp said none of the cases were related, each man was charged for allegedly trying to arrange to have sex with children.
“I want to emphasize that these were men who were allegedly attempting to have sex with children. This should be quite startling and disturbing to the people in these communities where the suspects were arrested.”
Timothy Olsen, 37, from St. Albert is facing charges of child luring, making child pornography, making child pornography available, possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography.
Around 58 computers and electronic devices were seized and the arrests took place between February and October in Edmonton, St. Albert, Wainwright, Drayton Valley, Fort Saskatchewan and in Barrie, Ont.
Camp said the individuals had shown up to meet for sex with the kids and then were arrested. Camp urged parents to remain vigilant.
“The predatory behaviour of these individuals is quite clear. They will go online and they will attempt numerous times a week to engage with children. And if they try enough times they will find a child to meet, usually someone vulnerable.”
All of the incidents took place online and the alleged perpetrators used a range of social media platforms to communicate with kids, including Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat ,Tumblr and Kik.
“We have to, I think, as a community … understand there’s pedophiles out there and everywhere and there’s a significant amount of them. I think that young children online need to have some kind of oversight,” Camp said.
Three suspects from the United States were found during the investigation and ICE sent the information to American law enforcement agencies.
During the investigations and subsequent arrests, ICE worked in collaboration with a number of police agencies, including Wainwright RCMP, St. Albert RCMP, Drayton Valley RCMP, Fort Saskatchewan RCMP, the Edmonton Police Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Camp warned child predators that ICE will continue to investigate and pursue them and that more arrests are coming.
Olsen will appear at the Edmonton Courthouse on Nov. 21 at 9 a.m. in room 267 for election and plea.