‘Victimization of children spanned the globe’: Crown seeks 22 years for internet luring, child porn

The arrest of a Winnipeg sex predator uncovered a network of abuse that spanned the globe and victimized hundreds of children, a court heard Wednesday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/07/2022 (197 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The arrest of a Winnipeg sex predator uncovered a network of abuse that spanned the globe and victimized hundreds of children, a court heard Wednesday.

Kenneth Emerson’s arrest in July 2020 led to the discovery of tens of thousands of pages of internet chat room logs in which he manipulated child victims into performing sex acts for him.

“The chats discovered on the accused’s phone revealed that the accused had directly victimized hundreds of children, created and distributed child sexual abuse material, and tried to assist other like-minded offenders in connecting with children to abuse in their jurisdiction,” Crown attorney Katie Dojack told provincial court Judge Wanda Garreck.

“… the accused’s phone revealed that the accused had directly victimized hundreds of children, created and distributed child sexual abuse material, and tried to assist other like-minded offenders in connecting with children to abuse in their jurisdiction.”

“These chats show that the accused’s online victimization of children spanned the globe and included children in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Italy, USA, New Zealand, Ireland, Romania, Guatemala and Sweden.”

Emerson has pleaded guilty to two counts of internet luring and one count each of making child pornography, making written child pornography, possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and invitation to sexual touching.

Seated in the prisoner’s box, Emerson, 31, shook his head from side to side as Dojack told Garreck she will be seeking a sentence of 22 years in prison.

Emerson came to police attention in June 2020, after a woman reported finding “disturbing” chats on her 12-year-old son’s Instagram account, Dojack told court, reading from a lengthy agreed statement of facts.

Court heard Emerson befriended the boy over the social medial platform a month earlier, pretending to be a 14-year-old boy. Emerson persuaded the boy to give him a pair of his underwear in exchange for $5.

The boy “suggested this was weird and asked if this was a trap,” but agreed to drop off his underwear under a bench at a park near his home.

Emerson, who did not meet with the boy in person, later asked for another pair of underwear, this time telling him to wear it for three days and to provide him with photos before completing the exchange. The boy provided Emerson with the photos but not the underwear before his mother discovered the communications and contacted police.

An investigator with the Winnipeg Police Service’s internet child exploitation unit followed Emerson’s Instagram account, identifying himself as a 12-year-old boy.

“The accused routinely bragged about having unprotected anal sex with male children.”

“Eleven minutes later, (the officer) received a notification the accused wanted to send him a message,” Dojack said.

Emerson again identified himself as a 14-year-old boy and over the next two weeks engaged in graphic sexual talk with the officer before asking him to drop off a “used” sock at a park picnic table. When Emerson picked up the sock, police arrested him.

A subsequent analysis of Emerson’s cellphone uncovered tens of thousands of pages of online chats, many of them over platforms frequented by child sex predators due to their anonymity features, the Crown said.

“The chats revealed the accused was eager to trade child sexual abuse material with other like-minded offenders,” Dojack said. “The accused routinely bragged about having unprotected anal sex with male children.”

Emerson was the creator and administrator of multiple chat groups where he required children to provide nude pictures of themselves, telling the children they were necessary to prove they weren’t pedophiles.

The chat groups were created “for the sole purpose of trading child sex abuse material or luring and sexually exploiting real live children,” Dojack said. “As such, he created the rules and was in control of who was allowed to join these groups.”

Children “are so dumb about their safety,” Emerson disclosed in a chat room frequented by adult pedophiles, Dojack said.

“He explained he didn’t want kids to get murdered, just molested. He told children that even though sex between adults and children was illegal, it was common and fine if it was consensual.”

“He explained he didn’t want kids to get murdered, just molested. He told children that even though sex between adults and children was illegal, it was common and fine if it was consensual. He expressed that it was rape that gave pedophiles a bad name.”

Court heard Emerson encouraged other pedophiles in abusing children, including one man he pushed to abuse his own brother. In other instances he connected pedophiles with children in their area who he had already victimized online.

The sentencing hearing resumes Thursday.

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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