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Missing and Exploited Children Training Conference (MECC): Speakers & Presentations

Attendees of MECC 2019 will hear from leading professionals in the field of missing and exploited children and the lessons they’ve learned on the ground in recent high profile cases.

Expert Speakers

Dr. Sharon Cooper

As a forensic and developmental pediatrician, Dr. Sharon Cooper has decades of experience evaluating and treating children who have been sexually abused. She provides multidisciplinary training in all forms of child maltreatment to health care providers, law enforcement, attorneys, judges, therapists, chaplains, and social workers; lectures around the world; and has been an expert witness in more than 300 court cases.

Dr. Cooper is the CEO of Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics, PA. She works regularly with numerous national and international investigative agencies on internet crimes against children cases. She spent 21 years in the armed forces, retiring as a colonel. She holds a faculty position at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Cooper has provided training and published chapters and articles for medical professionals regarding the age estimation of children depicted in sexual abuse images. She actively evaluates victims of all forms of child abuse, including sex trafficking.

In this Q&A session, Dr. Cooper will share her extensive expertise on how child sexual abuse material has changed what we know about child sexual abuse and about disclosure of abuse, the problems with relying on children to disclose, and how professionals working in all areas of child protection can use this information to change their plan of action with child victims.

Dr. Åsa Kastbom, MD PhD, University Hospital of Linköping Sweden

Dr. Åsa Kastbom works as a physician with children, adolescents, and adults in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry department and the Adult Psychiatry department at the University Hospital of Linköping in Sweden. She is a consultant at the Trauma Unit for Abused Children, at the Adult Psychiatry Emergency Department, and at the Transsexual National Center. She specializes in the field of sexually abused and traumatized children and adults, and her research has covered sexual behavior in children. Dr. Kastbom is a founder and a member of the Child Protection Team at the University Hospital in Linköping and a well-known speaker in Sweden and at conferences internationally.

Accurate knowledge of child sexual development is important in many areas, and professionals are often supposed to be able to assess whether a sexual behavior falls into the realm of normality or not. In her presentation, Dr. Kastbom will discuss research and clinical findings concerning common and uncommon sexual behaviors of children in different age groups. She will provide information about which behaviors to consider normal and common, and which could be a sign of sexual abuse. She will use cases to talk about how she and her team work with sexually abused children 2–18 years of age and focus on trauma-based cognitive therapy.

Rescue from the compound: Coordinated takedown of an armed exploitative father

In October 2016 the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) Northern Alberta Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit was contacted by Evansburg RCMP with information that one of the community’s most notorious residents was sexually abusing, making pornographic videos, and exploiting his daughter online. The suspect was well known to the detachment and the RCMP’s Behavioural Sciences Group as a knowledgeable “survivalist” with extensive weapons and police tactics training who was in possession of a large quantity of firearms and ammunition. His behaviour toward police had already led to enhanced security measures at the Evansburg RCMP detachment and in several police members’ homes.

This presentation will provide an overview of the major file coordinated and investigated by ALERT ICE, highlighting the unique strategies and partnerships used to achieve success in a file ripe with extreme risk to the public, the victims, and law enforcement.

This case study will detail the collaboration that was necessary to successfully rescue five children and their mother from a physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive father with a survivalist disposition who had isolated his family in a rural compound fortified with over 40 firearms. As ICE investigators began collecting information, this investigation quickly evolved into one of the largest operations the Northern Alberta ICE Unit has ever led. Human resources included over 70 members from a dozen law enforcement units, multiple police services, and several civilian agencies.

Each speaker will discuss the challenges faced and offer their perspectives on how the case was investigated, managed, and prosecuted.

  • Presenters

    Staff Sergeant Stephen Camp, Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) — Northern Alberta Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit

    S/Sgt. Stephen Camp has been an Edmonton Police Service member for 28 years. He has worked in various roles throughout his career, including as a patrol sergeant, Hate Crime/Violent Extremism Unit investigator, detective in Criminal Investigation Section, detective in Homicide Section and, in the past three years, as the staff sergeant of ICE.

    Corporal Cam Dunn, Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) – Northern Alberta Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit

    Cpl. Cam Dunn has been a member of the RCMP since 2005 and has worked as a patrol officer and in various plain clothes investigational units. For the last three years, Cpl. Dunn has worked as an investigator in the Northern Alberta ICE Unit.

    Keith Nicholls, Crown Prosecutor, Specialized Prosecutions, Alberta Justice and Solicitor General Crown Prosecution Service

    Keith Nicholls has been a Crown counsel for more than a decade. He worked in General Prosecutions for eight years, prosecuting a range of offences, including family protection, sexual assault, robbery, and homicide. In 2015, Keith came to the ICE Unit and became the unit leader last year. Keith was involved with this file from the outset, which became the largest and most complex file this unit has prosecuted.

    Suvidha Kalra, Crown Prosecutor, Specialized Prosecutions, Alberta Justice and Solicitor General Crown Prosecution Service

    Suvidha Kalra began her career with the prosecution service in 2009 with Edmonton General Prosecutions where she prosecuted a wide range of offences, including domestic violence, aggravated assault, robbery, sexual assault, and homicide. In 2014, Suvidha joined specialized prosecutions in the area of occupational health and safety, and then joined the ICE Unit in 2016. She was brought on to this file because of her specialized training in dealing with vulnerable and traumatized victims. She has a therapist certification in Hakomi therapy, a somatic based modality. The combination of both these practice areas has helped her create a framework for conducting prosecutions in a trauma informed manner. Suvidha has also trained other prosecutors about the impact of trauma on witness evidence, and best practices for obtaining evidence from traumatized victims.

Combatting human trafficking in rural communities

What’s a Romeo, and what is he doing in small town Ontario? This presentation will break down what human trafficking of youth in rural communities looks like, and how it differs from urban centres.

Using case examples, D/Sgt. Andrew Taylor of the Ontario Provincial Police’s (OPP) Anti-Human Trafficking Investigation Coordination Team will speak to the risks and recruitment of marginalized youth. He’ll also discuss guidelines and best practices for investigators and child welfare staff to be aware of, and provide an overview of how the OPP is working with local service providers to encourage reporting and increase intervention opportunities.

  • Presenter

    Detective Sergeant Andy Taylor, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Anti-Human Trafficking Investigation Coordination Team

    D/Sgt. Andy Taylor is the Supervisor for the OPP Anti-Human Trafficking Investigation Coordination Team. This team is responsible for all investigations involving human trafficking offences within Ontario, including investigation coordination between jurisdictions. It is also responsible for public education. Prior to this role, D/Sgt. Taylor served in the Orillia Detachment Criminal Investigation Unit and Street Crime Unit. In May 2018, he was the primary investigator assigned to a joint Barrie Police Service / OPP investigation into a 27-year-old double homicide, which concluded with two arrests for first-degree murder after a four-year investigative effort.

Identifying an offender: How the NCECC found a bus driver posting abusive videos on the dark web

In June 2017, an RCMP officer working out of the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC) found several videos on the dark web of a school bus driver giving his elementary school passengers cookies laced with semen and recording children eating them.

This case study will outline how the RCMP Victim Identification Unit worked to locate the suspect and 39 victims in Ontario without the aid of EXIF, metadata, or IP addresses; relying solely on victim identification techniques and old-fashioned police work.

  • Presenters

    Constable Krista Toner, RCMP National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, Victim Identification Unit

    Cst. Krista Toner has been an officer with the RCMP since 2004. Her first post was to Punnichy, Saskatchewan, where she specialized in child forensic sexual abuse interviews and investigations. In 2012, Cst. Toner joined the NCECC and is currently a member of the Victim Identification Unit. She is a national instructor for INTERPOL’s International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database, trained in image comparison and analysis by the FBI, and received training at the Europol Combating Online Child Sexual Exploitation course in Europe. Cst. Toner is also a member of the Europol Victim Identification Task Force, working with the international ICE community to rescue and identify victims of sexual exploitation.

    Corporal Charity Sampson, RCMP National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, Victim Identification Unit

    Cpl. Charity Sampson has been with the RCMP since 2000. First posted to North Battleford, Saskatchewan, she became a Child Forensic Interviewer and conducted numerous sexual and child abuse investigations. She has also worked in Special O doing surveillance in the Toronto area and as a criminal intelligence analyst with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Section in Toronto with a focus on terrorism and organized crime. Cpl. Sampson joined the NCECC in 2013 where she is currently in charge of the Victim Identification Unit. She is a member of the Europol Victim Identification Task Force, working internationally to identify and rescue child victims. Prior to joining the force, she worked as a federal parole officer with a large caseload of high risk sexual offenders.

More to come.

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