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Project Mercury,
More than 150 arrests and a dozen children rescued in
international child sexual abuse investigation



Broadcast time: 13:35
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Sex Crimes
416-808-8500


In 2014, the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom discovered an online group allegedly involved in the sexual abuse of children. As offenders and locations were identified, information was shared with police agencies across the world, including the Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto Police Service.

Further investigation by officers revealed other offenders and the Toronto Police Service, with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations, distributed information to other police agencies.

In July 2015, during the investigation, TPS officers observed the live-stream sexual abuse of a six-year-old child. Several of those allegedly watching, and directing, this abuse were identified and arrested by local police services. The child was rescued and more than 20 offenders were arrested.

In March 2016, during the investigation, TPS officers found sexual abuse material involving an eight-year-old child. Officers also found advertisements for the sexual abuse of the child. The offender was identified and arrested by the RCMP in Saskatoon. The child was rescued.

Over the course of the investigation, officers in other jurisdictions observed the live-stream sexual abuse of children. Two occurrences, one in December 2015 and another in October 2017, resulted in a dozen arrests and two children rescued.

Since 2014, 153 arrests have been made and, of those convicted, sentences have ranged from 30 months to 60 years. Many are still before the courts.

A list of Canadians charged during Project Mercury is as follows:

Marc Leonard, 41, of Toronto:

1. Access Child Pornography
2. Six counts of Make Available Child Pornography
3. Possess Child Pornography
4. Two counts of Make Arrangement to Commit a Sexual Offence Against a Child

Marc Leonard has been convicted.


Peter Patlakas, 33, of Toronto:

1. Possession of Child Pornography

Peter Patlakas has been convicted.


Derek Murty, 46, of Toronto:

1. Possession Child Pornography
2. Accessing Child Pornography
3. Make Available Child Pornography

Derek Murty is still before the courts.


Shane Murphy, 43, of Toronto:

1. Possession Child Pornography

Shane Murphy has been convicted.


Rylan McDonald, 40, of Toronto:

1. Make Available Child Pornography
2. Possession Child Pornography
3. Access Child Pornography
4. Attempt Access Child Pornography

Rylan McDonald has been convicted.


Arik Wells, 34, of Toronto:

1. Access Child Pornography
2. Possessing Child Pornography

Arik Wells is still before the courts.


Bruce Doucette, 50, of Toronto:

1. Two count of Accessing Child Pornography

Bruce Doucette has been convicted.


Anthony Graves, 40, of Edmonton:

1. Counselling offence not committed
2. Make Child Pornography
3. Possession Child Pornography
4. Accessing Child Pornography

Anthony Graves has been convicted.


Michael Longbone, 35, of Ottawa:

1. Make Available Child Pornography
2. Possession Child Pornography
3. Make Child Pornography
4. Access Child Pornography

Michael Longbone has been convicted.


Luc Berthelot, 38, of Ottawa:

1. Access Child Pornography
2. Make Written Child Pornography
3. Possession Child Pornography
4. Assault Police Officer
5. Possession Schedule I and II Drugs

Luc Berthelot has been convicted.


Steve Clarke, 35, of Belleville:

1. Possession Child Pornography
2. Making Child Pornography

Steve Clarke has been convicted.


James Comuzzi, 56, of Thunder Bay:

1. Possession Child Pornography

James Comuzzi has been convicted.


Marc LePage, 61, of Quebec:

1. Possession of Child Pornography
2. Counselling offence that is not committed

Marc LePage has been convicted.


Robin Barret, 58, of Newfoundland:

1. Make Available
2. Accessing Child Pornography

Robin Barret is before the courts.


Sean Timothy Sullivan, 37, New Brunswick:

1. Accessing Child Pornography
2. Possession Child Pornography

Sean Sullivan has been convicted.


Kenneth Bowman, 34, of Saskatoon:

1. Sexual Assault
2. Making Child Pornography
3. Administering Noxious Thing
4. Make Available Child Pornography
5. Possession Child Pornography
6. Make Arrangement to Commit a Sexual Offence Against a Child

Kenneth Bowman has been convicted.


Law enforcement agencies around the world will continue their efforts as more offenders are identified with every arrest and with every child rescued.

The Toronto Police Service would like to thank its partners with Homeland Security Investigations and the National Crime Agency for their ongoing assistance. A complete list of jurisdictions involved in Project Mercury is as follows:

Canada

Ottawa
Belleville
Thunder Bay
Edmonton
Saskatoon
Quebec
New Brunswick
Newfoundland


United States

Oregon
California
Utah
Arizona
New Mexico
Nebraska
Oklahoma
Texas
Missouri
Arkansas
Louisiana
Illinois
Michigan
Kentucky
Tennessee
Ohio
Georgia
Florida
New York
Pennsylvania
Virginia
North Carolina
Delaware


International

United Kingdom
Germany
Italy
France
Ireland
Denmark
Belgium
Slovenia


If you are involved in the online sexual abuse of children, you will be arrested. Get help, contact a lawyer and call your local police agency.

Anyone who is aware of online child sexual abuse can call their local police or one of the agencies listed below:

In Canada, the national centre for the reporting of online child sexual exploitation, CyberTip.ca.

In the United States, Homeland Security Investigations at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.

In the United Kingdom, visit the National Crime Agency's Child Exploitation and Online Protection.


This project has been made possible by a grant from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.


For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.



Meaghan Gray, Corporate Communications, for Detective Sergeant Paul Krawczyk, Sex Crimes Child Exploitation Section