Ottawa Police say a 77-year-old man is facing a charge of accessing child pornography after he was allegedly caught viewing it at an Ottawa Public Library branch.
Police say library staff reported seeing a man viewing what appeared to be child pornography on one of the computers Friday, May 31. By the time officers had arrived the man had left.
Library staff called police again Tuesday, June 4, to report the same man was back, again looking at apparent images of child porn.
Officers were able to find the man at the library Tuesday. Police allege the images being viewed met the legal definition of child pornography.
Police are not naming the man at this time, citing the ongoing investigation, and would not specify the library branch where the alleged incidents occurred.
Sources tell CTV News it was the Centennial Branch on Old Richmond Rd.
The man is set to appear in court Wednesday.
The Acting Branch Operations Manager for the Ottawa Public Library, Donna Clark, says the OPL has very strong filters for illegal content, but no filter is perfect.
“The Library has one of the best filtering systems that there is. What I understand, from our technical support people, is that the filters are doing their job; however, we all know that technology is not always 100 per cent accurate,” she says. “So we also have a multi-pronged approach to dealing with people who are accessing illegal information on our sites.”
Clark says policies include a proactive staff who roam around the branches, and who are trained to respond and call police if they suspect a patron is accessing illegal material.
Clark says, in addition to assisting in whatever way they can in the police investigation, OPL staff will hold their own debrief and review of the incident, to see if policies, procedure or technology needs to be improved.
She says, in the case this week, staff acted perfectly.
“Even if staff suspect an individual is viewing child pornography within our facilities, we call the police right away and let the police do their job,” she says. “This is what happened during this incident. The repeated training and information sessions we have with our staff enabled them to take swift action.”
The Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board, Councillor Tim Tierney, said in a statement, "I would like to thank the Ottawa Public Library for their quick action working with Ottawa Police Service on identifying this illegal activity. The swift actions of OPS in this matter has helped to keep all our libraries safe for our clientele."