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OPP Child Sexual Abuse Investigation Results in 64 Arrests and Hundreds of Charges

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has announced that 64 people have been arrested and 348 charges have been laid in a province-wide investigation into the distribution of child sexual abuse material.

Referred to as Project Aquatic, this case involved 129 separate investigations from 27 police services across the province. The investigation, which began on Feb. 19, focused on the sexual exploitation of 34 child victims and concluded on Feb. 29 with the arrest of 64 individuals linked to the creation, possession, and distribution of “child sexual abuse material.”

During a news conference in Scarborough on May 8, OPP Detective Staff Sergeant Tim Brown informed reporters that 34 child victims were identified, and an additional 30 children were safeguarded during the investigation to prevent them from being exploited.

The victims and offenders involved in the case spanned a wide age range, with children ranging from infants to teenagers, and offenders ranging from teenagers to senior citizens.

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All the individuals charged in connection with this case reside in Ontario, except for one individual from Alberta.

Det.-Sgt. Brown shared that some of those charged had previous offenses and were out on bail but did not provide further details.

During the investigation, one person arranged a meeting with undercover investigators to meet a child for illicit purposes, while another suspect was found with approximately 21 terabytes of child sexual abuse material data. The OPP reported the seizure of over 600 digital devices as part of the case.

Det.-Sgt. Brown highlighted the increasing complexity of child sexual exploitation cases due to advances in technology and the rise of AI-generated images, which make it challenging for investigators to differentiate between real and synthetic victims.

More to come…

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