Winnipeg police used an undercover sting operation to build their case against an accused sexual predator who is now running for political office.
Court documents provide details into the investigation of Darrell Ackman, who made headlines for provocative videos he posted on YouTube. Ackman, 43, is free on bail after being charged this summer with allegedly recruiting girls to appear in porn videos and work in the sex trade.
Ackman recently got 130 people in Fort Whyte to sign his nomination papers so he could be a candidate in the Sept. 4 provincial byelection. Under the Elections Act, there is nothing preventing the Tuxedo resident from soliciting eligible voters or from having his name appear on the ballot.
Police outlined the case against Ackman in an affidavit filed last month in order to obtain a search warrant. None of the allegations has been proven and Ackman is presumed innocent.
Officers said they monitored Ackman for several months after learning he was responsible for "numerous Internet advertisements offering escorts in Winnipeg" and the girls in question were teenaged runaways. Police also met with a 17-year-old girl last month who provided a detailed statement about her involvement with Ackman. She said Ackman arranged seven transactions in which she was forced to perform sex acts with men in exchange for about $300 per session.
She said Ackman introduced her to a 14-year-old girl, who "monitored the sexual transactions of the 17-year-old victim in attempts to groom her for the business." The younger teen participated in at least one sex act for money, the affidavit said.
Police stepped up their investigation on July 23 when they had an undercover officer contact Ackman "attempting to have a date with one of his escorts." Investigators said Ackman showed up at a hotel with "two youthful-looking females." They admitted to being 14 and 17 with Ackman standing right beside them, police said.
"Darrell Ackman then negotiated $300 from the undercover Winnipeg police officer for sexual favours from the 17-year-old victim, while the 14-year-old victim watched and was being groomed for the business," the affidavit said.
Police quickly arrested Ackman, who told officers he thought the girls were at least 18 years old.
Both teens alleged Ackman had videos on his computer of both of them naked, which may have been used to promote prostitution under the guise of escort agencies. They said they were forced to turn over the bulk of their earnings to him. Ackman allegedly operated out of a rented basement suite on Hunterbrook Road, which is where the warrant was executed.
Police seized cameras, cellular phones and computer hard drives. Further charges are pending, and both girls have claimed other underage victims have yet to come forward or be identified. Two more teen victims have since been added to the list of charges. Police have said they are looking for as many as eight other victims.
Ackman faces a number of charges, including living off the avails of prostitution and sexual assault. He's wanted in Florida on prostitution charges that date back to 2010.
Ackman has repeatedly tried to draw attention to himself in Winnipeg when he began taping young women on the streets of Winnipeg, and sometimes in bars, and posting the videos on the Internet under the guise of MrJetzTV.
Elections Manitoba said the act prohibits potential candidates from running if they're incarcerated or have been convicted under the Elections Act within five years before election day.
-- with files from Bruce Owen