Maine unit helps solve child porn case in N.B.

Posted Feb. 03, 2009, at 9:21 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit has helped solve yet another pornography case, this time in New Brunswick.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police last week arrested Michael Gary Gilbert, 38 of Tracyville, New Brunswick, near Fredericton, and charged him with sexual assault, sexual exploitation and producing child pornography.

“Pornography has no border,” Sgt. Claude Tremblay of the RCMP said Tuesday of the Maine State Police’s involvement in helping solve the case.

The case is reminiscent of another last year in which the state’s Computer Crimes Unit provided assistance leading to the arrest and eventual guilty plea of a Georgia man on charges involving the creation and posting of videos on the Internet of himself having sex with a young girl.

So far 10 victims have been identified in the Canadian case, according to Tremblay, and more are expected. The victims are male and female, of various ages and most are from New Brunswick. All are adults today but were under 18 years old at the time of the alleged offenses, the RCMP said on its Web site.

Canadian court documents allege that the crimes took place between November 2001 and December 2004 and involve two sets of photos circulated on the Internet, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported on its news Web site Tuesday.

The investigation began with the Toronto Police Service in November 2007 when a series of photographs were discovered circulating on the Internet. It appeared they might have originated somewhere in Atlantic Canada, the RCMP Web site said. Police investigated.

Then in October of last year, another series of photos were discovered.

The Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit got involved.

“It wasn’t an active case,” Sgt. Glenn Lang, the unit’s Internet Crimes Against Children commander, said Monday.

Lang and Dawn Ego, the unit’s certified computer forensic examiner, did some analytical work. They suspected the pictures might have a connection to either Maine or New Brunswick.

“We both worked on that case, [and] she did more than I did,” Lang said.

“There were a number of things we identified that really started focusing in on very tight geographic areas,” he said.

The agency was able to pinpoint an area in southern New Brunswick.

The information was passed on to the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit in New Brunswick, which in turn was able to identify the suspect and the victim, according to the RCMP Web site.

“They started doing some analytical work in that really tight geographic area that we pointed out, and in no time … it got resolved,” Lang said.

Asked if the agency’s efforts helped jump-start the case, Lang said, “You could say it went from a closed case to a closed case [with the arrest of Gilbert].”

Other agencies that assisted in the case were the Toronto Police Service; the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre; the RCMP District 2 Oromocto, New Brunswick; and the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit in New Brunswick.

Gilbert appeared in Burton Provincial Court last week. A bail hearing was waived, and he has remained in custody. He is expected to appear in court Feb. 9.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said Monday that the Canadian case was not the first time Ego and the Computer Crimes Unit had successfully helped another agency.

Ego’s analytical skills helped crack a case last year that led to the arrest of James Bartholomew “Bart” Huskey, who was 38 years old at the time and a tennis coach in his hometown of Lafayette, Ga. He was charged with making and distributing child pornography.

The Computer Crimes Unit became interested in that case in May 2008 after the FBI sent out a flier asking for assistance in finding a man who was creating and posting videos on the Internet of himself having sex with a young girl.

Ego was able to identify a bedspread in one of the pictures. “She then contacted a bunch of manufacturers and found out what hotels had purchased this bedspread, and it was based on this that this creepo had rented a motel room for his videoing of these kids,” McCausland said.

McCausland said the Georgia case “had stumped investigators for years” because police were unable to pinpoint where the pornography was coming from.

“In this Canadian case there were some similar aspects there of trying to pinpoint a location, which would help zero in on a suspect, and Dawn’s information was very helpful in doing that,” he said.

Tremblay noted that pedophiles should beware because police agencies work together.

“It is an international effort between all countries to make sure that the pedophiles don’t think ‘they caught me here in Toronto, they are not going to get me in the states,’” the RCMP sergeant said. “But excuse me, buddy, it doesn’t matter where you are — we are going to be working on you.”

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