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Online predator who abused ‘hundreds’ of children including Irish boy jailed for 19 years

The Canadian sex offender targeted hundreds of children across the globe.

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A Canadian paedophile who victimised hundreds of children around the world, including Ireland, has been sentenced to 19 years in prison.

The Winnipeg man, Kenneth Emerson (31), whom was arrested in July 2020, was jailed for internet luring, as well as child pornography-related offences.

Emerson was arrested following an undercover investigation by Winnipeg police who said he had been posing as a 14-year-old boy.

He had been in contact with an underage victim online for about a month, before the victim's parents found out and contacted police.

The investigation by the police service's internet child exploitation unit led to his arrest and the discovery of tens of thousands of pages of internet chat room logs in which he manipulated child victims.

As well as Ireland, Emerson's victims included children in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, New Zealand, Romania, Guatemala and Sweden.

According to the news website, The Winnipeg Free Press, during sentencing provincial court Judge Wanda Garreck said the fact that Emerson did not abuse the victims in person makes the crimes no less serious,

“The belief Emerson has or others may have that it is less egregious because there was no hands-on abuse and no forced participation is an idea that must be smashed and a strong message must be sent that the focus must be on prevention… of sexual violence against children and not on the physical actions of the abuser,” Garreck said.

Emerson was said to be the administrator of more than two dozen chat groups which required children to provide nude pictures of themselves.

Police believe he duped the children into sending the images by telling them it was necessary to prove they were not paedophiles.

Children “are so dumb about their safety,” Emerson disclosed in a chat room frequented by adult sex offenders, the Winnipeg Free Press report.

He also encouraged other paedophiles in abusing children, including one man who was pushed to abuse his own brother.

Emerson previously pleaded guilty to two counts of internet luring and one count each of making child pornography, making written child pornography, possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and invitation to sexual touching.

He was sentenced Thursday, a Manitoba Crown prosecutor confirmed to CBC.

Following his 2020 arrest, local police spokesperson Rachel Vertone said parents need to be involved in their children's online activity.

"It is important for parents to know what their children are up to online and what they are looking at and who they are speaking with. It is the responsibility and the duty of parents to make sure that their children are safe and not being victimized by predators online," said Vertone.

Vertone said she wouldn't go into details about what Emerson might have been planning, saying "the victim has already experienced enough."

She added there could be other victims.

"Incidents like these, there's always the potential for more victims, and if there are we would like to speak to those victims," Vertone said.

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