Hamilton elementary school staff member facing child pornography charges

An educational assistant at St. Ann Catholic Elementary School in Hamilton is facing charges after police say they found evidence of child pornography involving a victim under the age of six, who attended the Barton Street school.

Police say they began investigating after receiving a tip from the National Child Exploitation Crime Centre. A search warrant was executed near the end of March and police say they found evidence of child pornography on computer devices.

A 49-year-old-man was arrested at the school on Monday, according to investigators.

Police say he is also a Scout leader. They believe there could be more victims.

School board ‘shocked and deeply disturbed’

Pat Daly, chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) said it’s “shocked and deeply disturbed” by the charges and “continue to keep those impacted in our thoughts and prayers.”

The educational assistant was immediately put on unpaid leave, HWCDSB confirmed to CBC in an email.

The board is cooperating with police and providing support to students and staff, including through its compassionate care crisis response team, Daly added.

A similar message was shared in a letter to the school community from Daly and St. Ann principal Tina Fricano on Tuesday morning.

Asked if the HWCDSB is undertaking its own review of how the situation could have happened, HWCDSB said “our own investigation will be paused until the criminal investigation is completed.”

The board said it will not be commenting further as the case is before the courts.

Scouts Canada said the Hamilton man had been a volunteer since 2000, but his membership has been terminated.

“Our volunteers and staff are required to complete rigorous training and police screening procedures before they are allowed to work with youth,” wrote Kayleigh Kanoza, director of organizational planning for Scouts Canada, in an email.

She added the accused had met all of those requirements.

Kanoza said police did not contact Scouts Canada during its investigation and have indicated the charges are not connected to scouting.

Paul Goodman is charged with possession of child pornography, making child pornography and making child pornography available, according to police.

Paul Goodman, 49, is charged with possession of child pornography, making child pornography and making child pornography available, according to Hamilton police. (Supplied by Hamilton Police Service)

“The Hamilton Police Service Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE) continues to relentlessly pursue offenders, who are engaged in the online sexual exploitation of children,” read a media release announcing the arrest. 

“This work was done to ensure the continued protection of children in our community while holding offenders accountable for offences they commit in said community.”

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact ICE or Crime Stoppers.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/educational-assistant-st-anns-elementary-child-pornography-1.6408763

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