…but arrests proving counter-productive
By Geneviève April and Robert Frank
The ten teen boys aged 13-15 who were arrested last month on charges of possessing, distributing and producing juvenile pornography will be back in Laval youth court in January, for their next criminal hearing.
“Nine will return on Jan. 20, and one on Jan. 22, to set the date of their trial, without witnesses,” explained Jean Pascal Boucher, spokesperson for Laval’s Crown prosecutor.
Meanwhile, the 10 young accused are free, with restrictions, one of which is that they are forbidden to use computer equipment.
They face charges of possessing and distributing juvenile pornographic material, and two counts of producing such material.
“One of the accused is also charged with Internet luring,” added Boucher.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the anti-luring law is aimed specifically at adult sexual predators.
“In general terms, child luring through the Internet could be defined as adults aged 18 and more who attempt, through the internet, to contact minors for the purpose of inciting them to have sexual contact,” the Mounties stated on the cybercrime page on their website.
“Youth may not always understand the consequences of their actions and the information disclosed may make it easier for predators to manipulate minors,” the RCMP added.
Law leveled only at boys
Boucher declined to disclose exactly how many girls are involved in the case or to what degree, “because that’s part of the evidence.”
When The Suburban asked whether any of the girls who had produced or distributed juvenile pornographic material would also be charged, there was a pregnant pause from Boucher before he answered.
“I can’t tell you how many young women are involved, but only the boys are facing charges,” Boucher stated.
Arrests proving counterproductive
Meantime, Laval school authorities remain frustrated at the police intrusion into behaviour issues they would have preferred to have addressed internally.
The Suburban has learned that the widespread media attention has had the opposite of the effect that Laval Police intended when they took the boys into custody at their homes in a coordinated series of dawn raids.
“They’re getting high-fives from fellow students,” a Sir Wilfred Laurier School Board teacher told The Suburban. The newspaper has learned that the school board has imposed a gag order, threatening staff with sanctions or potential dismissal if they discuss the arrests.
Meantime, the case could have a profound impact on Canadian jurisprudence, both in terms of the limits of the country’s kiddie porn laws. Since Canada’s constitution prohibits age discrimination, the court will have to determine whether a child can be found criminally responsible for actions that are currently completely legal between two adults.
On the other side of the juridical coin is the potential for this case to contribute to criminalizing consensual sexting between adults.
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