Alberta teacher jailed after admitting to child pornography offences

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A former elementary school teacher in southern Alberta has been sentenced to 30 months behind bars after pleading guilty to one count each of making and possessing child pornography.

Mark Anderson of Pincher Creek was sentenced in a Lethbridge courtroom Monday after a delay in accommodating a psychiatric assessment.

The court heard that police in a number of Alberta jurisdictions launched an investigation in July 2017 after the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children sent notice of pornographic material being uploaded on social media.

Anderson was arrested in January 2018 and an agreed statement of facts presented in court said he had been in possession of child pornography dating back to 2010.

A check of computers and other devices seized from his home and classroom revealed hundreds of images and some videos of child porn, with the children in them ranging in age from three to 16.

Defence lawyer James Rouleau says his client is remorseful, is receiving counselling and is unhappy with his previous behaviour that he doesn’t find acceptable.

The court heard that some of the images found on Anderson’s equipment were duplicates contained in various electronics.

Police also found there had been certain file-sharing programs on one of the computers, but that they had been deleted and another program had been used to purge them.

A risk assessment concluded that the former teacher was a low risk to reoffend, even though in a statement to police he said he couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t attracted to children.

Anderson had taught at a school in Brocket and was removed from his position when allegations against him surfaced.

Police said he was also involved in minor sports and Scouts Canada on the Piikani Nation reserve.

A joint submission from the Crown and defence for the 30-month sentence was accepted by provincial court Judge Paul Pharo.

Anderson also faces a number of lengthy court-ordered conditions that include access to the internet through adult supervision only and no use of peer-to-peer or social media sites.

Rouleau requested that Anderson serve his time at the Bowden Correctional Centre because of the availability of the prison’s sex offender programs, and to reduce the danger to him during his incarceration.

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