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Winnipeg man among those charged in connection with Toronto child porn ring

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City police say a 38-year-old Winnipeg man arrested in 2012 faces charges related to a huge child pornography ring making big headlines today.

Denis Michel Rousseau was arrested on June 27, 2012. He is charged with accessing child pornography and possessing child pornography. His case remains before the court, and he is considered innocent until proven otherwise.

The arrest came as a result of Project Spade, an investigation sparked in October 2010 when undercover officers made contact with a Toronto man on the internet who was allegedly sharing child pornography online.

In Toronto today, police said at least 348 people were arrested around the world as part of Project Spade, including 50 in Ontario and 58 from other parts of Canada.

School teachers, doctors, nurses, pastors and foster parents are among those facing charges in the wide-ranging operation that can be traced back to a business operating out of Toronto's west end, police said.

At least 386 children have been rescued from sexual exploitation, police have revealed.

"It's a first for the magnitude of the victims saved," said Insp Joanna Beaven-Desjardins, of the Toronto force's sex crimes unit. "The amount of arrests internationally, also a first."

The probe revealed a far-reaching web of child pornography which involved some of the most shocking abuse investigators had seen.

Police allege Brian Way, 42, had been running an "exploitation movie, production and distribution company" called Azov Films since 2005, and had made more than $4 million from the business.

Through his company, the man would allegedly contract people to create child porn videos involving kids, largely boys, between the ages of five and 12. Many of those videos were allegedly shot in Ukraine and Romania in apartments, dingy saunas and backyards.

Police allege the videos were then distributed from Toronto — through the mail and the Internet — to customers around the world.

Toronto authorities moved in to arrest Way in May 2011 and then, along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, spent months re-creating a customer database.

That information was shared with the RCMP and Interpol, which led to arrests of customers around the world and to the apprehension of those who allegedly created the videos.

Staff / Canadian Press

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