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Chris Ingvaldson was dismissed from St. George's School, a Vancouver private school, last week after police alleged he was accessing child pornography at home and at school.
Chris Ingvaldson was dismissed from St. George's School, a Vancouver private school, last week after police alleged he was accessing child pornography at home and at school.

Two B.C. men arrested in Facebook child porn bust Add to ...

A Vancouver high-school teacher who allegedly accessed child pornography from his school's computers is one of two B.C. men now linked to a global porn ring that operated through Facebook.

Christopher Ingvaldson, 40, was charged in early June with four counts relating to child exploitation. Allegations that he was involved in the exploitation network were revealed on Friday.

RCMP say a Kelowna man was also arrested in June on information forwarded by Australian authorities who cracked the alleged ring. He was released, but police are still expecting to recommend charges.

Six people in Britain and three in Australia have also been arrested.

The Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children was tipped to the investigation once it became clear Canadians were involved, spokeswoman RCMP Sergeant Lana Prosper said.

"There are more files being investigated in Canada," Ms. Prosper said. "Whether they lead to charges or not would be up to those specific agencies."

RCMP Sergeant Steve Holmes said police executed a search warrant once they were alerted a resident might be involved.

"Items such as a computer and other materials were seized in the warrant, however, at that time there was not enough evidence to continue with a charge or support a charge, so that person was released," he said.

Police expect to recommend charges of possession and distribution of child pornography, he said.

Canadian involvement in Project Ocean began shortly after Australian authorities launched the investigation in March. British Authorities and the FBI were also involved.

A covert Australian officer was approached by one of the suspects after establishing an identity on Facebook, ultimately leading police to the other suspects.

Australian police said Facebook deactivated the accounts of the initial suspects, but within hours, the groups appeared again under new accounts.

Ms. Prosper said there were no "hands-on" Canadian offenders identified in this particular case, which meant no children had to be immediately protected in the country. In the U.K., however, two children have been safeguarded.

Facebook released a statement saying staff for the site worked actively with the FBI and law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom to support the investigation and sending a pointed message to the 45-year-old Australian ringleader.

"Our message to Ian Green and people like him is: 'You will be caught and Facebook will help law enforcement to secure your capture and prosecution,'" said Joe Sullivan, chief security officer for Facebook.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr. Green was sentenced Friday to four years in prison after admitting he shared up to 100,000 indecent images.

Following Mr. Ingvaldson's charges in Vancouver, Nigel Toy, now-retired headmaster of the all-boy's St. George's School, posted a statement on the school's website saying Mr. Ingvaldson was "immediately relieved of his duties" in light of the police investigation.

He was arrested after a two-week investigation in which search warrants were executed at his home and at the school.

"The parents can be rest assured that there was no information that came to light where any student was at risk or anybody was victimized at the school, or in Vancouver for that matter," Vancouver Police Sergeant Tony Cavezza said.

While Mr. Cavezza said he's aware Facebook has been used to exploit children before, an Internet safety expert called the bust very rare.

Parry Aftab, executive director of non-profit wiredsafety.org, says people almost always trade illegal photos using secretive peer-to-peer networks rather than public spaces like Facebook.

"You get found when you're on Facebook. It was designed to allow people to find each other," said Ms. Aftab, whose organization advises Facebook on a volunteer safety panel.

"I can always count on the stupidity of child molesters and child pornographers because every time they do something stupid like try to use Facebook for this, these people get discovered and they go to jail."

The site has a very strong anti-child exploitation unit and reports instances of abuse to police, she said.

Technology to screen illegal photos isn't available, but even if it was, she said people might find it an invasion of privacy.

"Facebook isn't any different from Bell Canada. They make money by providing a platform that allows people to communicate with each other," she said. "Do you want Bell Canada listening to the phone calls to say which ones should be reported to law enforcement?"

The Facebook connection came as no big surprise to authorities.

"The people that are out there doing this are trying to find any medium available on the Internet," Prosper said. "It's Facebook today, it could be something else tomorrow."

 

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