Eckville man pleads guilty to 26 child sexual exploitation charges

Charges laid in January laid after tip from Australian police

An Eckville man pleaded guilty to more than two dozen child sexual exploitation-related charges in a Red Deer courtroom on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault; sexual contact with a minor; sexually counselling a minor; possession of child pornography; making, printing or publishing child porn; and voyeurism — 26 charges in all.

The man’s name is covered by a publication ban.

He was arrested by Sylvan Lake RCMP in January after Australian police tipped off the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team’s internet child exploitation unit about a suspect involved in trading child pornography images online.

Investigators searched homes in Eckville and Fox Creek associated with the suspect and recovered half a million photos and videos.

The charges date from February 2010 up to his arrest on Jan. 10.

The accused, dressed in Red Deer Remand Centre blue coveralls, showed no emotion in the prisoner’s dock. A small group watched from the public gallery and sobs could be heard in the courtroom.

Caroline Ayre, from the province’s Calgary specialized prosecutions office, said she will request that a psychological assessment of the offender be ordered at his next court appearance this Wednesday.

A Gladue Report, which is used by the court to help determine appropriate sentences for First Nations and Metis offenders, will also be requested.

Ayre intends to read into the record a lengthy agreed statement of facts providing details of the admitted crimes at the next court appearance.

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