Former university prof jailed for possessing child pornography

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His arrest on child pornography charges cost former university professor and researcher Trevor James Pemberton his career.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/01/2020 (988 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

His arrest on child pornography charges cost former university professor and researcher Trevor James Pemberton his career.

Now, Pemberton “will have to live with the shame of being a convicted pedophile, which will follow me forever,” he told a Winnipeg court Monday before being sentenced to 18 months in jail and three years supervised probation.

Pemberton, 40, a former associate professor at the University of Manitoba’s department of biochemistry and medical genetics and a research collaborator with the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, was arrested in July 2018 after an outside law enforcement agency alerted Winnipeg police a suspect with a local IP address was sharing images of child pornography.

Trevor James Pemberton, a former associate professor at the University of Manitoba’s department of biochemistry and medical genetics and a research collaborator with the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, was arrested in July 2018 after an outside law enforcement agency alerted Winnipeg police a suspect with a local IP address was sharing images of child pornography. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail and three years supervised probation. (FACEBOOK)

A police search of Pemberton’s electronic devices uncovered 107 unique images of child pornography and 292 of “investigative interest” — pornographic images that could not be positively determined to depict children, Crown attorney Michelle Bright told provincial court Judge Wanda Garreck.

Pemberton accessed the illegal images through a file-sharing program, but did not intentionally share images himself, said defence lawyer Matt Gould. A charge of distributing child pornography was stayed by the Crown.

Court heard since his arrest, Pemberton has undergone regular psychiatric and psychological counselling. According to a letter from a psychologist provided to court, Pemberton reported feeling “socially isolated” at the time he was viewing child pornography and was suffering from depression and social anxiety.

“Plenty of people spend a lot of time alone and isolated from others and they don’t start looking at and sharing child pornography,” Bright said.

Pemberton came to police attention in August 2017 after a user linked to an IP address later tracked to him shared child pornography videos online. Police were unable to find any evidence of the videos when they arrested Pemberton the following year, Bright said.

“Which suggests that he was keeping some files and getting rid of them,” Bright said. “It’s likely that the images located on his computer are not the only ones that he ever possessed.”

Pemberton faces almost certain deportation to the United Kingdom upon completing his sentence.

Pemberton said he recognizes now what he didn’t prior to his arrest: that viewing child pornography perpetuates the ongoing abuse of children.

“I now understand that any interaction with child pornography materials on the internet, regardless of the circumstances involved, contributes to children being hurt, and there is no excuse for that,” he said.

Garreck said she was satisfied Pemberton was truly remorseful, but said he will remain a risk “until he fully comes to understand what the triggers were for engaging in this type of offence.”

Pemberton’s probation order includes conditions that he have no access to a computer or the internet outside of work and that he have no contact with children.

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

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