by William Skink
America’s northern neighbor, Canada, recently broke up an extensive pedophile ring in Toronto, rescuing nearly 400 children and arresting over 300 adults:
Nearly 400 children have been rescued and 348 adults arrested following an expansive and “extraordinary” international child pornography investigation, Canadian police announced Thursday.
The three-year project, named Project Spade, began when undercover officers with the Toronto Police Service Child Exploitation service made contact with a Toronto man allegedly sharing “very graphic images” of child sexual abuse in Oct. 2010, Toronto Police Service Chief William Blair said at a press conference on Thursday.
Police said their investigation revealed an entire child movie production and distribution company in Toronto operating via the web site azovfilms.com.
As I have said before, pedophiles aren’t just creeps with thick glasses and Chevy vans. Too often they are prominent members of a community. Here are some of the people arrested in Project Spade:
What was most alarming, Inspector Beaven-Desjardins said, was that many of the arrests were of people who worked with or closely interacted with children.
Among those arrested were 40 school teachers, nine doctors and nurses, six law enforcement personnel, nine pastors and priests and three foster parents, she said.
Pedophilia in this context is as much about power as it is about sexual perversion. Too often the prominence of the people involved helps insulate these monsters from detection. If an abused child reports a teacher or cop, will they be believed?
Last year our Missoula community experienced shock and dismay when a prominent psychologist, Jay Palmatier, was arrested for possessing child porn on his computer:
A Missoula psychologist has been charged with sexual abuse of children.
Dr. Jay Palmatier is accused of possessing and uploading child pornography.
Employees of Google Incorporated found an image on a Gmail account that could be classified as child pornography. Google informed the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children of their findings, who then passed the information to the Missoula Police Department.
Police were able to link the account to Palmatier, and according to court documents, later admitted to possessing the image.
Those who knew Jay were horrified when this came to light, myself included. This man was often involved in getting people committed, including minors. I once participated in a court proceeding to get a mentally ill homeless woman committed, and it was Jay’s expert testimony that helped make the case for commitment. To have someone in this kind of powerful position involved in perpetuating child pornography was and is deeply disturbing.
After the initial reporting, this story disappeared. No one in the service provider world wanted to talk about the implication of a prominent psychologist admitting to possessing child porn. We moved on.
The international scope of child trafficking is enough to make one’s mind recoil in horror. But stories of systemic abuse continue emerging. In the last few days the Canadian investigation wasn’t the only story of pervasive sexual abuse to be reported on. There is also reports of extensive abuse across the pond:
Around 350 victims have come forward to report child sexual abuse within football clubs, the National Police Chiefs’ Council has said.
The number comes from information supplied by forces across the UK to Operation Hydrant, set up in 2014 to oversee investigations into historical child sex abuse concerning prominent people, and referrals from the NSPCC helpline.
The NPCC said police forces across the country had received a “significant” number of calls, both reporting further allegations and offering information.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the NPCC’s lead for child protection, said the number of victims was “an indicative figure only”, and that with information still being collated numbers could change.
He said: “We are working closely with the Football Association to ensure that the response to this significant and growing number of victims, at all levels of football, is co-ordinated effectively.
Despite all this context, I understand the tendency of otherwise perceptive people to dismiss the speculation surrounding Pizzagate as nothing more than a hoax. Where are the victims, they say. Where is the smoking gun? Without concrete evidence, the potential existence of a pedophile ring using pizza parlors as fronts will be ridiculed as baseless conspiracy theory or discounted as a political hoax intended as a partisan hit against Clinton.
The reality is pedophile networks exist, and they are often comprised of influential people who rely on their positions of power and the unthinkability of their crimes to avoid detection.