Friday, July 20, 2018

Mark Anderson pleads guilty to child porn charges

Mark Anderson

Former Napi's Playground Elementary School teacher Mark Anderson pleaded pleaded guilty to making and possessing child pornography in Lethbridge Provincial Court on Monday July 16. On September 18 the completion of a risk assessment report is expected by the court and a sentencing date will then be set.

Excerpted from a report by the CBC: "Devices seized from his home and classroom during an investigation uncovered hundreds of images and some videos of child porn.  Anderson will remain out of custody while attending the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre in Calgary to complete the report. He is barred from having any contact with students or going onto school property."

According to an ALERT press release at the time of his arrest on January 11, he was apprehended with the assistance of Pincher Creek RCMP, Piikani Nation RCMP and Lethbridge Police. A number of computers and electronic devices were seized from his Pincher Creek home for forensic examination. "The investigation began in July 2017 when ICE received a referral from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) concerning a social media user uploading child sexual exploitation materials. ICE conducted an investigation to identify the user, and only recently learned the suspect was a teacher."

According to a Lethbridge News Now report at the time of his guilty plea, "A review of the devices seized – both from his home and classroom – uncovered hundreds of images and some videos of child porn with the children in them ranging in age from three to 16. It was noted that some of the images were duplicates contained on various electronics. They also found that there had been certain file sharing programs on one of the computers at one point, but that they had been deleted and another program had been used to purge the information. Anderson also provided a statement to police, in which he admitted that he couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t attracted to children.  In regard to the making of child pornography charge, Anderson admitted to hiding a cellphone that obtained two videos of a girl, estimated to be between the ages of 13 and 16, while she showered."

Anderson, 44, was a Grade 4 teacher at Napi's Playground Elementary School in Brocket on the Piikani Nation, an organizer of the annual Piikani Princess pageant, a basketball referee, a member of the Piikani Minor Hockey Association, and was involved in a number of other area volunteer organizations, including Scouts Canada.  He was given the Blackfoot name Piitawotaan (Eagle Shield) by Piikani elders in 2014. His employment with the Peigan Board of Education has now been terminated.

Related links/sources:
CBC story
Lethbridge News Now story
Brocket teacher arrested for Child Pornography offences

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