Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Child-porn offender came calling

He entered Winnipeg homes in course of furnace- and duct-cleaning business

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A convicted Winnipeg sex offender facing new criminal charges had been running his own business that allowed him unfettered access to dozens of city homes for several years, the Free Press has learned.

Kevin John Rose, 41, is the owner and operator of River City Furnace and Duct Cleaning, which has been in operation since 2011.

Last month, police arrested Rose on allegations he forced a teen girl to work in the sex trade. He is being held in custody without bail.

Investigators are retracing Rose's steps in recent years as part of an ongoing investigation.

That includes speaking with other employees at River City to determine where and when he was inside people's homes.

"It's completely understandable people would be concerned," said Jessica Hulst, who told the Free Press Monday she is now running the business while Rose is behind bars.

'People are allowing this predator in the front doors willingly. I doubt in most cases they have any idea'

Hulst said she was aware of Rose's criminal background but admitted customers clearly would not have been. She said she doesn't believe there is any reason for customers who might have dealt with Rose to be worried.

Not everyone feels the same way.

"This guy is going into unsuspecting clients' houses and cleaning out furnace ducts.

"There appears to be a past history of illegal electronic surveillance. Kind of spooky that this guy has access to ducts in people's homes.

"It may be worth a look to make sure nothing was left behind," said a Winnipeg business owner, who recently sounded the alarm to authorities after learning about Rose's business.

"People are allowing this predator in the front doors willingly. I doubt in most cases they have any idea," another business owner told the Free Press.

Both men didn't want their names published because of security concerns.

Rose is a technology expert who made local headlines in 2007 when he was convicted of stalking an ex-girlfriend and tapping her phone conversations using specialized equipment. Rose was caught outside the woman's apartment.

He was back in the news in 2008 after being identified as the operator of a money-making website that featured girls as young as seven posing suggestively in skimpy clothing.

Police were initially unable to stop him because the disturbing images didn't appear to meet the definition of child pornography under Canadian law.

However, Rose was convicted in 2011 of possessing more than 1,000 images of child pornography, earning him a 26-month sentence of time already served.

In that case, Rose was caught in a sting by international policing agencies who identified him as one of 360 suspects from around the world. He was caught engaging in online chats that included asking young girls to send him nude pictures of themselves.

Investigators executed a search warrant and seized Rose's computers and other electronic devices. They discovered an extensive collection of catalogued images, mostly of teens engaged in indecent poses.

The latest allegations against Rose involve a claim he "pimped" a 17-year-old girl out of a Templeton Avenue home between Feb. 1 and April 7.

He is now charged with procuring, sexual assault and sexual exploitation.

None of the allegations has been proven and he is presumed innocent.

"He should be out on bail in a couple weeks," Hulst said Monday.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 6, 2014 B3

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