NEWS

New Brunswick Man Charged After 2,000 Boys Allegedly Lured Online

05/06/2015 11:17 EDT | Updated 05/06/2016 05:59 EDT
MONCTON, N.B. - The RCMP in New Brunswick are asking for help in countries around the world in their investigation of a man who allegedly pretended to be a teenaged girl online and lured as many as 2,000 boys.

Police say the 24-year-old Moncton man, who cannot be named because of a court ordered publication ban, is facing several sex offences after allegedly luring boys between the ages of 10 and 16 from at least January 2012 to last fall.

The Mounties say the man allegedly contacted the boys through live video chats of various social media sites including Skype, Facebook, Omegle and Vichatter.

Sgt. JeanMarc Pare of the RCMP's Internet Child Exploitation Unit said a video of a teenage girl that appeared to be live was used to convince the boys to undress and initiate sex acts, which were taped and distributed on the Internet.

There are alleged victims worldwide, including in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia and Russia, he said.

"I've seen large numbers of images and videos seized, and I've seen a lot of victims on our cases, but in terms of video evidence of victims this was quite large," Pare said Wednesday.

"We're talking somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 victims."

Investigators say it's possible that some boys may not be aware they were victimized and police are urging potential victims to come forward.

The RCMP investigation started last fall as the result of information uncovered by York Regional Police in Ontario during an investigation called Project Hydra.

Pare said police in Moncton secured a search warrant in December and seized computers and storage devices.

The man appeared in Moncton provincial court in February and was charged with making child pornography, possessing child pornography, making available child pornography, touching a person under the age of 14 for a sexual purpose, and sexual assault. He was remanded to custody.

The RCMP have posted a video on the web asking the public and police departments around the world to share it on social media in an effort to reach as many potential victims as possible. Pare said police have already received a number of calls, but would not say what information was received.

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