Two children rescued and millions of child exploitation images seized

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HALIFAX  Two children have been rescued from harm and 22 individuals from across Atlantic Canada, including eight from Nova Scotia, have been arrested so far in investigations that targeted child predators who collect, possess and distribute child exploitation material online.

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Sixty-four charges have been laid or are pending.

Wednesday morning, the RCMP’s Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and Behavioural Sciences Branch (CPCMEC/BSB) announced the completion of Operation Snapshot II in Atlantic Canada. The Operation has resulted in a broad range of charges such as accessing child pornography, possession of child pornography, making available child pornography, making child pornography, and voyeurism across Atlantic Canada.

“Internet‑facilitated child sexual exploitation is a horrendous feature of the modern digital world and crosses many jurisdictions," said RCMP Commission Bob Paulson in a press release. "It requires police partners to work together to identify perpetrators and to stop them. In the fast-paced world of information technology, we are constantly adapting to new realities, and will continue to protect our children."

Operation Snapshot II is a coordinated information and resource sharing effort involving federal, provincial and municipal police agencies. Partners in this CPCMEC/BSB led operation included the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Halifax Regional Police, Cape Breton Regional Police, Charlottetown Police Service, and Springhill Police Service, as well as RCMP divisions in Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

“All the credit for Snapshot goes to the men and women on the ground who are dedicated to preventing and solving these heinous crimes against children,” continued Paulson.

Out of those arrested is Earltown's Robert MacKinnon, 24. Springhill's Vernon Rae Sullivan, 61, and Linacy's Leamund Knickle, 46, were also arrested.

Operation Snapshot II, which began in April, was focused on two key priorities: first, to identify and rescue children who were victims of sexual exploitation, and second, to identify and charge high-risk offenders who collect, possess and/or distribute child sexual exploitation material online. Some investigations are still ongoing and more arrests could be made.

Wednesday's announcement follows on Operation Snapshot from October 2012, when the RCMP announced 30 investigations resulting in charges after a multi-agency investigative operation targeting online child predators in the Prairie and Northern provinces.

To provide information to law enforcement relating to child exploitation, please use Cybertip.ca.

Click here to learn more about how the RCMP is combating online child sexual abuse.

Organizations: RCMP, CPCMEC/BSB, Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and Behavioural Sciences Branch

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland, Halifax Cape Breton Charlottetown New Brunswick Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island

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