Niagara officers join province-wide investigation 'Project Maverick' into sexual abuse of children
Niagara Police joined forces with 26 other police services in a massive child pornography investigation called 'Project Maverick'.
Police say 120 children at risk were identified through the investigation and 107 people are facing charges.
During the month of October, 27 policing partners conducted 277 investigations, completed 168 search warrants and seized 1,032 devices.
In total, 428 charges were laid against 107 people.
During the investigations, 61 victims were identified and referred to appropriate community-based resources for assistance, while an additional 60 children were safeguarded.
There are 175 ongoing investigations where additional charges may be laid.
“These offenders are choosing to sexually abuse or exploit a child, some of the most vulnerable victims within our society that we must ensure are protected. The sad reality is that they are living in our community. As parents and caregivers, we have to ensure we are talking to our kids and remaining vigilant to ensure children are not victimized in the first place. To ignore a child being abused, makes you complicit. But we can change that. If you see something – report it.”- Niagara Regional Police Service Staff Sergeant Brett Atamanyk, Special Victims Unit
“These numbers are shocking, but they provide hope by showing the lengths our teams are willing to go to protect children. I would like to express gratitude for the hard work of the Provincial Strategy members, and our partners, in keeping children in this province safe and holding those who want to harm them accountable.”- OPP Chief Superintendent Kari Dart, OPP Investigation and Support Bureau