MEDICINE HAT – Four Medicine Hat men have been charged with a variety of child sexual exploitation offences following a series of arrests by ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit.
ICE’s investigation stems from the suspects’ alleged involvement in online child exploitation. The arrests took place between May 12 and 14, 2020, with the help of Medicine Hat Police Service.
“Sadly, our ICE unit has been inundated with cases involving online child exploitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. While people are spending more time online, I can’t emphasize enough the need to implement safe internet practices and know-how in order to protect our children,” said Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT CEO.
There is no definitive link between the suspects other than the nature of offences allegedly committed. Each of the men was charged with at least one child pornography offence:
- Thomas Bindr, a 27-year-old man;
- Blaine Vadnais, a 78-year-old man;
- Jeremy Unruh, a 43-year-old man; and
- Owen Michael Monteith, a 34-year-old man.
None of the accused were deemed to work in professions of trust and/or authority.
A total of 43 computers and devices were seized. ICE will continue its investigation by conducting a full forensic analysis.
ICE is an integrated team that includes members of Calgary Police, Lethbridge Police, and Medicine Hat Police, and RCMP members. ICE investigates offences involving child pornography, any computer-related child sexual abuse, child luring over the Internet, voyeurism involving victims under the age of 18, and child sex trade/tourism.
Anyone with information about this investigation, or any child exploitation offence is encouraged to contact local police or cybertip.ca.
ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.
Sarah Murphy/Alberta Press Leader
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