Police charge eight people in online child sexual exploitation investigation

Joint OPP and Peterborough Police Service investigation focused on how popular social media applications were used to lure children

A police investigator at work during Project Peacehaven, a joint investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police and the Peterborough Police Service into online child sexual exploitation that has resulted in charges against eight people, including an Omemee resident and a Selwyn Township resident. (Photo: OPP)
A police investigator at work during Project Peacehaven, a joint investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police and the Peterborough Police Service into online child sexual exploitation that has resulted in charges against eight people, including an Omemee resident and a Selwyn Township resident. (Photo: OPP)

Eight people — including an Omemee resident and a Selwyn Township resident — have been charged with 36 criminal offences during a joint investigation conducted by the OPP’s Child Sexual Exploitation Unit and the Peterborough Police Service.

The joint investigation, named Project Peacehaven, focused on how popular social media applications are used by those looking to sexually abuse children.

Trained investigators used online undercover techniques to access online chat rooms and social media applications designed for youth to proactively identify, locate, and arrest persons looking to sexually exploit children in Peterborough.

VIDEO: Project Peacehaven

The following people have been charged as a result of the investigation:

  • Leonard Razon, 21, of Scarborough, Ontario has been changed with possession of child pornography, making sexually explicit material available to a child, and five counts of luring a person under 16.
  • Danny Depew, 52, of Abbotsford, British Columbia has been charged with three counts of luring a person under 16, and breach of 161 prohibition order.
  • Steven MacDonald, 36, of Delta, Ontario has been charged with three counts of luring a person under 16 and making sexually explicit material available to a child.
  • William Bell, 55, of Shannonville, Ontario has been charged with two counts of luring a person under 16 and making sexually explicit material available to a child.
  • Chris Parish, 49, of Selwyn Township, Ontario has been charged with four counts of luring a person under 16.
  • Joshua Burgoyne, 40, of Courtice, Ontario has been charged with four counts of luring a person under 16.
  • Jordan Cobb, 36, of Simcoe, Ontario has been charged with five counts of luring a person under 16 and two counts of sending sexually explicit material to a person under 16.
  • Nathan Johnson, 38, of Omemee, Ontario has been charged with luring a person under 18, making sexually explicit material available to person under 18, and communicating with anyone under 18 years for purpose of obtaining sexual services.

The joint investigation took place over three days.

“The importance of police services working together cannot be understated,” says Inspector Tina Chalk of the OPP Counter Exploitation and Missing Person Section. “We share our resources and our knowledge to identify those who seek to harm our children. There are no borders or jurisdictions in our fight against child exploitation.”

In a media release, the OPP included several results of the investigation:

  • Investigators communicated with 36 suspects beyond simple introductions. The communications established ages which were well outside the consensual parameters established by the Criminal Code and included inappropriate sexualized content.
  • Approximately 30 per cent of these suspects were identified, located and arrested after committing criminal offences.
  • Six of the suspects were arrested when they arrived at a set location to meet the child for sexual purposes.
  • Two suspects were identified solely through online investigations and arrested outside of a set meeting location.
  • One suspect drove over 290 kilometres to meet a child for sexual purposes.
  • A repeat offender was arrested who had just completed his 10-year term on the Ontario Sex Offender Registry.

To learn how to keep children safe, visit the Canadian Centre for Child Protection at protectchildren.ca . If you have information related to child sexual exploitation, contact your local police or visit cybertip.ca.

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