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'Project Maverick' nabs Sudburian for sex offence against child

The OPP-led child exploitation task force worked with 27 police agencies, including GSPS

A 28-year-old Sudbury man is among those charged as part of the OPP’s Project Maverick, the provincial strategy to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet. 

On Nov. 30 a press conference was held to outline the strategy currently including assistance from the attorney general and the solicitor general as well as 27 police agencies, including the Greater Sudbury Police Service. 

In addition to announcing the names of ongoing investigations, including the adult male in Sudbury who is charged with two counts of “Agreement or arrangement – sexual offence against child,” the OPP offered a video release and the statistics for one month: October 2022.

During the month, the 27 policing partners conducted 277 investigations, completed 168 search warrants and seized 1,032 devices. In total, 428 charges were laid against 107 people. During the investigations, 61 victims were identified and referred to appropriate community-based resources for assistance, while an additional 60 children were safeguarded. There are 175 ongoing investigations where additional charges may be laid.

The 27 participating police agencies include: Barrie, Belleville, Brantford, Chatham-Kent, Cornwall, Durham, Greater Sudbury, Guelph, Halton, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Niagara, North Bay, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Ottawa, Peel, Peterborough, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Toronto, Waterloo, Windsor, Woodstock and York.

Additional partners that participated in these investigations included OPP Digital Forensics, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security. The BOOST Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, the Children's Aid Society and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection provided victims' support and education.

The OPP noted that part of Project Maverick’s success is the ability to work in partnership with several jurisdictions across Ontario. In the release video, Det.-Sgt. Vijay Shetty with Toronto Police Services (TPS) details an investigation led by TPS that led them to an unnamed “remote Northern Ontario community” where a person had expressed an interest in kidnapping a child for the purposes of exploitation. This was offered as an example of the need for cross-jurisdiction partnerships like Project Maverick. 

The project has been ongoing since 2006, and OPP representatives said there has been a marked increase in investigations since then. Since the beginning, the project has completed 65,564 investigations and laid 24,608 charges against 6,540 people. A total of 3,470 victims have been identified worldwide. 

The investigations continue and anyone with information on these or any child exploitation investigations are asked to contact their local police. Report any instances of online child abuse to police or If a child is being harmed, call 9-1-1.