A proactive online investigation by the BC Integrated Child Exploitation (BC ICE) Unit has resulted in charges of Making Child Pornography and Arrangement or Agreement to commit a sexual offence against a child.
On March 10, 56-year-old Ronald Gardner, of no fixed address, was arrested and subsequently charged with the above noted offences, as well as Failing to Comply with Prohibition Order originating from historical child-pornography-related charges.
The investigation began in February 2016 when a covert online investigator, posing as a single mother of two children, entered an online chat website, known for being used, by users, to discuss their sexual interests in children. The covert online investigator engaged in communication with a user of the chat site. The chat quickly turned sexual in nature - with the suspect allegedly describing various sexual acts he wished to engage in with the investigator’s (fictitious) children.
On March 10, the suspect while under surveillance by the BC ISPOT (Integrated Sexual Predator Observation Team), attended to a Burnaby restaurant, with the alleged intention of meeting with the mother (covert online investigator) and engaging in sexual acts with her fictitious young daughter.
Ronald Gardner was granted release on bail on March 18, with a number of conditions restricting his access to children, computer devices and the internet.
On April 4, Gardner was arrested by Abbotsford police for being in breach of his access to the Internet condition. He remains in custody. Since his initial arrest the BC ICE unit has continued its investigation.
The BC ICE unit actively seeks out child predators using covert online techniques throughout British Columbia.
“Keeping children safe from predators is the primary focus of the BC ICE unit,” says Inspector Tyler SVENDSON, officer in charge of the RCMP Behavioural Sciences Group. “Specially trained on-line undercover investigators locate offenders in child exploitation-focused chat forums, where they are known to converse with like-minded individuals.
Using covert techniques, ICE investigators target those who seem likely to engage in hands-on offending against children. The nature of the work is incredibly challenging, but since the implementation of the online covert team in 2011, the BC ICE unit has had great success in identifying and successfully prosecuting child sex offenders across the province.”
The BC RCMP asks that if you are aware of any incidents of online childexploitation, you report it to your local police or throughwww.Cybertip.ca.