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

Over the three-day conference, attendees of MECC 2018 heard 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 — outlined below.

Details for MECC 2019 speakers and presentations will be available in early 2019.

Expert Speakers

Dr. Anna Salter

As a well-known clinical psychologist, Dr. Salter is a leader in her field, helping the world better understand child sexual predators. For years she has treated the victims of violent sex crimes and studied the offenders, authoring several books, including Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders: Who They Are, How They Operate, and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children, along with producing the poignant video series, “Truth, Lies and Sex Offenders.”

Dr. Salter dispelled myths about child sex offenders, addressed whether those who use child pornography typically have hands on victims, and discussed the characteristics of female sex offenders and their similarities and differences from male sex offenders. Her sessions also explored some of the challenges our systems encounter in uncovering and adequately addressing child sexual abuse both from a child protection and criminal perspective.

Dr. Rebecca Bailey

Dr. Rebecca Bailey is a clinical psychologist and forensic psychologist who specializes in complex case scenarios, including experiences of extreme trauma. She is a nationally recognized expert in non-familial and familial abductions, and is the founder and director of Transitioning Families, an innovative family-based program for therapeutic reunification and reintegration in California. Dr. Bailey is a regular consultant to and referral for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is a regular consultant to judicial entities. She is an active member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

She presents widely on a variety of topics, including the premise of creating “protected spaces” for survivors of traumatic crimes, and the importance of active collaboration among involved systems. Dr. Bailey is an advisor for the JAYC Foundation and the clinical director for their programs.

Trafficking the Vulnerable: The Investigations, the Offenders and the Victims

This case study presentation primarily focused on R. v. Bannon, a recently concluded B.C. Supreme Court case where the offender was convicted of procuring nine vulnerable teenagers into prostitution and living on the avails. Each speaker offered their perspectives on how the case was investigated and managed – from the inception of the investigation through to sentencing. Presenters discussed the challenges presented by managing not only the various young complainants, but also the vast amount of material generated during the course of the investigation and the successes achieved through the collaborative working relationship between support workers, investigators and the Crown counsel.

This presentation also touched on R. v. Albashir and Mohsenipour. In February 2018, these offenders were convicted of multiple counts of human trafficking of two young women and a teenage girl in connection with offences committed over three years against the victims in Vancouver, Coquitlam and Edmonton. Presenters covered what the Counter Exploitation Unit does, the Vancouver Police Department Sex Work Enforcement Guidelines and how those guidelines adapt into practical investigations.

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Project RIE: What is the Dark Web?

Project RIE was an international investigation that started with a small town Canadian man living a double life as a dark web mastermind. His identification and arrest has led to the rescue of over 100 child sexual abuse victims from around the world. This presentation included topics surrounding Tor/dark web, innovative victim identification techniques and case studies on some of the 100 rescued child victims.

International partnership was at the core of this investigation and is essential when conducting online investigations, particularly when offenders exist in a landscape of anonymity. Uncovering the cloak that camouflages their identity requires creative thinking, new investigative techniques and close partnerships within the law enforcement community. Several case studies were shared to highlight the effectiveness of international partnerships.

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When Women Facilitate Child Sexual Abuse: A case study by Northern Alberta ICE

In spring 2015, a female reported to Northern Alberta Internet Child Exploitation (NAICE) investigators that she had been exchanging messages with a man on Craigslist when he alluded to wanting to engage in a sexual relationship with her and her child. NAICE launched an undercover investigation with the suspect via Craigslist. Following a similar conversation to the one reported, the target was arrested and charged. Forensic examination of the device seized during the arrest revealed that the offender was attempting to arrange multiple sexual relationships with women who were willing to involve their children.

Detective Brian Cross of NAICE presented the case study, discussing the pitfalls of an investigation with an overly-involved member of the public who inserted herself into the investigation and caused significant time delays, as well as expiring records, and suspended accounts with no retained information. He covered the successes gained by having informed forensic technicians, and outlined the challenges of the follow-up interviews with the accused during an investigation that identified multiple additional criminal conversations and several additional female offenders.

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A Community’s Desperate Search

Missing for six days, 11-year-old Teresa Robinson’s body was located in the woods of Garden Hill First Nation, a remote fly-in community in northern Manitoba. Her family hadn’t seen her since she left a birthday party not far from home. A 10-month long investigation led to the arrest of a 15-year-old from the community.

The presenters explored the unique investigative challenges RCMP faced, including melting ice roads, the initial belief that Teresa was killed by an animal and the role DNA played. This case study also outlined the incredible response from the community, including the 700 search volunteers, and the full support of band members and leadership when the RCMP took the unusual step of asking for voluntary DNA samples from all males in the community ages 15 to 59.

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Child Forensic Interviewing: 30 Years’ Worth of Lessons, Best Practices, and New Developments in the Field

Meredith Kirkland-Burke has worked for 20 years at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) as a social worker and child forensic interviewer. Add to that Dayna Boyko’s decade of experience as a child sexual abuse investigator and child forensic interviewer with the Toronto Police Service for a combined 30 years of experience in the child interviewing field between these two speakers. Currently, they teach a sexual assault and child abuse course together at the Toronto Police College, as well as participate on the Peer Review Team at the Child Advocacy Centre in Toronto.

They walked attendees through new developments in the field of child forensic interviewing, and discussed best practices and the critical lessons learned over their time as interviewers. Meredith and Dayna believe that there is no such thing as a perfect child forensic interview, but with pre-planning, an evidence informed approach, and a willingness for law enforcement and social work to work together as a team, that great results are possible.

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When the Victims are 10,000 km Away: International Collaboration in Live Streaming Investigation

In spring 2017, Philip Chicoine was arrested after a months-long investigation by the Saskatchewan Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit that began with a report of child pornography shared on Skype. Although they were able to quickly find and charge the suspect, they were concerned that the crimes had moved beyond online to contact abuse based on the preliminary examination of seized devices. The investigation soon included Romania and the Philippines. Investigators uncovered a number of offenders who were live streaming the sexual abuse of children in exchange for money. As a result of the investigation more than 10 children have been rescued.

Cpl. Jared Clarke with the Saskatchewan ICE Unit walked attendees through the case and showed how he used recovered digital evidence to elicit more information from the suspect during in-person interviews and uncovered the organized sexual abuse of children occurring across the globe. Magnet Forensics explained how their software played a significant role in recovering and cataloging evidence from the devices seized during the investigation in a time efficient manner, as well as how they are using innovation to improve speed and accuracy in CSEM investigations — something that is becoming more and more important given the challenges of R. v. Jordan. Saskatchewan Public Prosecutions also commented on the unique evidentiary and legal challenges, and aggravating circumstances, presented by this complex case.

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Why Don’t Kids Tell? What We Know from Adult Survivors: Myths, Facts and Barriers About the Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) is the UK’s leading national charity offering support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect. Over 20 years of supporting and listening to adult survivors of childhood abuse has given the charity unique insights, data, and knowledge around this terrible crime.

This presentation, presented by Gabrielle Shaw, chief executive of NAPAC, focused on the myths around childhood abuse that far too many people — both professionals and the general public — hold. Gabrielle discussed why children generally do not disclose when the abuse first happens, what the barriers are to disclosure, and what the experience of adult survivors can teach us about how we can better respond and protect children today.

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R. v. Jamieson: Prosecuting the live-stream abuse of a six-year-old

In June 2016, an offender uploaded a child sexual abuse image to Chatstep. This was reported to the Winnipeg Police Service ICE unit, leading to the arrest of the offender, Greg Jamieson, and the execution of a search warrant at his residence in November 2016. Within days, the forensic examiner reviewing the seized devices for child pornography, notified investigators about communications and images located on Skype between the offender and an unknown suspect who appeared to be sexually abusing a young child in his care. This led to a cross border investigation involving police in New Jersey, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Child Exploitation Centre to try to identify the other suspect and child.

In December 2017, Greg Jamieson was sentenced to seven years in custody in R. v. Jamieson, after the offender pled guilty to possession of child pornography, making child pornography and arrangement to commit sexual interference by means of telecommunication.

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