64 Arrested in Ontario’s Major Child Sexual Exploitation Investigation

64 Arrested in Ontario's Major Child Sexual Exploitation Investigation

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) announced the arrest of over 60 individuals and the filing of more than 300 charges in a province-wide online child exploitation investigation, Project Aquatic, on Wednesday.

Beginning in February, authorities identified and apprehended suspects accused of creating, possessing, and distributing child sexual abuse material. One individual allegedly arranged a meeting with undercover investigators to sexually engage with a child. Another suspect possessed approximately 21 terabytes of child sexual abuse material.

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique stated that 34 identified victims received support, and 30 impacted children were safeguarded. The victims’ ages ranged from infants to teenagers.

Project Aquatic resulted in 64 people facing over 300 charges and the seizure of more than 600 electronic devices. The accused individuals’ ages ranged from 16 to 89.

Among those arrested was former Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) employee Tyler Pennells of Etobicoke. He was charged by Toronto police in February for allegedly using social media to contact minors under various names. Pennells is currently on administrative leave, with his next court date scheduled for Thursday.

Another suspect, 29-year-old William Jeon of Toronto, allegedly placed hidden cameras in coffee shop washrooms. He was arrested in September 2023 for possessing child pornography and is set to appear in court on June 5, 2024.

OPP Staff Sergeant Tim Brown emphasized the severity of child sexual exploitation and its lasting effects. He urged the public to report any suspicious activity to help combat this issue and create a safer environment for children.

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