Edmonton playwright charged with child porn

EDMONTON — A prominent member of Edmonton’s theatre community has been charged with possession of child pornography.

David Belke, 56, has worked for years as a playwright in the city, as well as working as a substitute teacher. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 6.

An investigation by ALERT Internet Child Exploitation and Edmonton police began in late February after photos and videos involving children were found on a computer that had been dropped off at a shop for repairs.

A search warrant was obtained and investigators discovered what they called a “significant amount of child exploitation material and child porn.” Police say the investigation is ongoing and more charges are possible.

Belke was arrested March 17 and released on a number of conditions, including that he not work or volunteer in any location where it could be reasonably foreseen that a person 16 years of age or under may be present.

Belke has been a mainstay of the Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival for many years, noting on his website that he had written a new work every year for 20 consecutive years.

He has won numerous Sterling Awards — handed out annually for the best in Edmonton theatre — and seen his plays including “The Maltese Bodkin” and “Blackpool and Parrish” produced on stages across Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Greece and the United States.

He has served as Alberta regional representative for the national council of the Playwrights Guild of Canada and as vice-president of the board for Alberta Playwrights Network.

Up until the end of February, Belke had been a playwright at Shadow Theatre for 25 years, but he resigned at the end of February.

The president of Shadow Theatre was shocked at the charge.

“This is entirely unexpected, for us, this caught us all out of left field,” Donal O’Beirne said, saying the organization learned of the charge Tuesday when ALERT released details publicly.

O’Beirne said he hadn’t heard from Belke since he resigned.

Officials with Edmonton Public Schools said Belke no longer works for the district, and said his employment ended as soon as school officials were made aware of the investigation.

Just Posted

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

WATCH: Setters Place grand opening in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Setters Place officially opened to the public Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month