CALGARY — A former candidate for the Alberta Party's top job is one of 10 men police have arrested in a child sexual exploitation case.
Troy Millington, 45, was the sole opponent to eventual winner Greg Clark in the party's September 2013 leadership race. Millington also ran unsuccessfully in an Alberta byelection in 2014.
Police say those arrested face charges of possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography and making available child pornography.
The charges were the result of an eight-month investigation by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team. It is made up of more than 300 municipal police and RCMP officers who work together on drug trafficking, child exploitation and gang violence cases.
"Every day thousands of child sexual abuse images and videos are being traded, viewed, downloaded all across the province,'' Det. Justin Brookes said Wednesday.
"Simply put, we cannot arrest everyone at once. (We) ... targeted the suspects with the largest collections and some of the most graphic content.''
None of the victims is believed to be from Alberta and none of the offences is believed to have taken place in the province
"(We) ... targeted the suspects with the largest collections and some of the most graphic content."
Investigators executed 30 search warrants across southern Alberta and seized 285 computers, mobile devices and storage drives.
Police say about half the devices were analyzed and almost 50,000 child sexual exploitation images were identified.
"Some of the victims in the images and the videos are estimated to be as young as six months and depict extreme sexual violence,'' said Brookes.
"Every one of those images or videos represents a victim and if you think about that, all around the world right now, there are young, innocent children being abused and being forced to commit despicable, sexual acts.''
Accused are from across Alberta
Five of the accused are from Calgary, three from Medicine Hat and two from Lethbridge.
Sheldon Kennedy, a former NHL player who has become an advocate against child sexual abuse, said the impact on victims can be far-reaching.
"We believe that kids and the images online are actually more damaging because it's forever,'' Kennedy said.
"They live with that forever and that constant, 'Who's going to see my image?'''
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