The person in the following news article did the right thing. Unfortunately, there are times when people look for reasons not to believe the evidence. Others look for excuses not to turn in the suspected offender. If you follow the link just above the news article, you can see comments from readers. I was not surprised to see several comments where people stated they do not have pedophiles as friends. You never know.
When people witness evidence of sexual abuse of a child or outcries from a child who has been sexually abused and do not make reports, they are contributing to the abuse of the child. Even if someone reports the information as a second hand account without that firsthand account it is difficult to corroborate the story. Here is a hypothetical example.
A Mother witnesses an event and does not report the account to the police or CPS. In addition, she forces her children to be quiet about what they witnessed/experienced. Furthermore, this Mother has for years withheld additional information that is pertinent to the story about the same child’s ongoing abuse. This woman holds the key to a young child’s freedom from years of many forms of abuse. Yet, this Mother refuses to come forward. She always has an excuse. Without that firsthand account/corroboration, CPS and the judicial system are limited in helping the child.
This person works in the medical field, which makes her a mandatory reporter. In some states, the failure of a mandatory reporter to report is a felony. When the time comes and this information comes out, and it will, do you think the system should prosecute this Mother for protecting the offenders, for not protecting the child? What would you do if discovered this person’s secret and she was your friend, sister, boss, et al? JDP
What do you do when you discover your friend is a pedophile? (with poll)
BY BARB PACHOLIK, LEADER-POST MAY 31, 2014
REGINA — He thought nothing of the envelope when first reaching for it.
A standard, legal-sized manilla type used for business, it was just one more bit of clutter on the table. Jon Walsh was helping his buddy clean and pack for a move from a rental farmhouse in the Francis area.
“I was about to crumple it up,” Walsh recalls.
The envelope seemed empty. But thinking he’d best double check, Walsh reached inside. His hand landed on a photograph.
“I looked and I went, ‘Oh God.’”
The 8-½-by-11-inch picture was of a little girl, perhaps nine or 10, standing in a lush, tropical setting.
She appeared posed.
And she was naked.
“I was literally stuck frozen in my stance right there at the table for this moment going: ‘What have I just found?’”
The tougher question followed: “Now what do I do?”
Walsh had known Bradley Raymond Chanin for some three decades.
They first met at high school in Saanich, B.C. Chanin had seemed a bit introverted. With a soft spot for outsiders, Walsh became his friend, part of a group of buddies. In time, those friendships moved from the school ground to the highways, as they went camping, rode motorcycles, and took road trips together. The contact was less when Chanin joined the navy at age 24, eventually becoming a captain. Laid off in the mid-’90s, he retrained to become a health and safety officer in the oilfields. Then living in Edmonton, he began taking on contract work in countries around the world.
Walsh heard about his friend’s trips to such far-flung places as France, Russia, South Korea, Qatar, the Philippines and United Emirates. Chanin particularly liked Thailand.
Ongoing health problems saw Chanin return permanently to Canada around 2010. He settled back, first in Edmonton, but eventually moved into the farmhouse in southeast Saskatchewan and took a job with a construction company.
Walsh, who lives in Cowichan Valley, B.C. was on the hunt for job in the spring of 2012.
“I contacted my old friend Brad because Saskatchewan had all kinds of work,” recalls the 50-year-old who also works in the oilpatch.
“ ‘I’ve got an empty house. Come on down,’ ” Chanin replied.
Shortly after moving in that May, Walsh landed a job. His friend, on the other hand, wasn’t faring so well.
Chanin suffered a debilitating form of arthritis and struggled with depression. He went on disability.
Walsh stayed mostly in the work camps, but occasionally returned to Chanin’s home. It and Chanin’s life were in disarray. His friend, an alcoholic who was abusing painkillers, talked of moving to Springwater, a small town where his mother grew up about 100 kilometres west of Saskatoon.
In late July 2012, Walsh began to help his friend pack.
After stumbling upon the photo in the envelope, Walsh looked around to see if his friend was near.
He quickly slid the envelope onto the table, as he’d found it. Bewildered by the discovery, he walked away to wash dishes — and buy time to think.
When Chanin left to run his dog, Walsh — struggling to make sense of what he’d seen — decided to take a second look. The envelope contained two more photos of the same nude girl. Maybe, he wondered, they’re innocent scenes of a child in a warm country.
But then he saw the remaining four prints — of an extremely lifelike child sex doll. A website address appeared beneath it.
Walsh’s unease grew.
“I’m trying to rationalize why my friend would have this photograph.”
He mulled over his next move: Confront Chanin? Go to police? Call Chanin’s family? Do nothing?
“I realized the only thing I could do is let him explain it to the law.”
With his friend due back at any time, Walsh again returned the envelope to the table, under other papers.
When Chanin left on an errand the next day, Walsh called RCMP. “I basically said what do I do?” The officer urged him to come in and give a statement about what he’d seen so police could get a search warrant.
Without access to a vehicle at that point, Walsh couldn’t leave without raising his friend’s suspicions. He bided his time.
A couple days after the discovery, the pair were in Chanin’s truck, headed to Regina to get a trailer for the move. The chat turned to Chanin’s overseas travels.
“He was telling me how I should let him take me to Thailand,” says Walsh.
“And, this is the eerie part about it,” he recalls with the benefit of hindsight. “The comment to me is, ‘You know Jon, you can get anything you want in Thailand.’ ”
When Chanin next left the house, Walsh opted to poke around. “The one fear I had was Brad discovering that I knew what I’d found and destroying it.”
His friend had about a half dozen computers. Walsh chose a desktop model, next to external hard drives stacked eight or 10 high. He plugged one in, browsing the file folders for photos. He noticed those of posed, young children in bathing suits.
The day came for Walsh to leave with Chanin, who was giving his friend a ride to his next job. As Chanin stepped outside, Walsh grabbed the last of his luggage, and the envelope and the hard drive. Shortly after getting to his new work camp that August, Walsh met with an RCMP officer in Melita, Man., and handed over what he’d taken on his own volition.
When Walsh had weighed his options, he thought about what might happen to his friend.
“But I really did get to the point where it wasn’t even a consideration anymore,” he says.
“I kept saying, how do you betray a friend by taking this evidence to the RCMP?
“That was tempered by the fact that the betrayal started with my friend becoming a pedophile.”
The evidence landed at the Saskatchewan Internet Child Exploitation or ICE unit, a joint force involving RCMP and municipal police officers.
Armed with a search warrant, ICE officers showed up at Chanin’s new Springwater residence in December 2012. Chanin began to shake when he learned what they were after.
“I don’t understand. Why is this happening to me?” he asked.
The 49-year-old man slid from his chair and onto the kitchen floor where he curled up in a fetal position.
RCMP Cpl. Drew Wagner told Chanin what was found at his previous residence, in Francis, and placed him under arrest for possession of child pornography.
The hard drive Walsh had removed contained 22 images of child pornography as well as several videos of a young girl, which appeared to have been shot by Chanin himself.
The search in Springwater also turned up a binder of 22 printed images of children engaged in oral or vaginal sex. In total, police retrieved 388 images of child pornography from Chanin’s various electronic devices. He also had emails providing his new address to a company and inquiring about the child sex doll he had ordered. On Yahoo, he was searching, “I am a practising pedophile. What can I do?”
Investigators believed Chanin wasn’t content with collecting child pornography, but was also a “hands-on” offender.
The most damning image was a two-minute video. It shows Chanin removing a girl’s underwear, hiking up her shirt, and attempting to rape the child, aged 6 or 7.
Chanin appears “stone-cold sober,” in the words of the prosecutor.
The youngster goes from innocent laughter, at the start, to an expression that is hauntingly blank by the end.
She was betrayed by a man who had befriended her family and won their trust. (A publication ban protects her identity.)
While so often it’s impossible to identify victims of child pornography, information on Chanin’s computer gave investigators a clue.
Wagner typed out an email, hit send and hoped to reach the girl’s mother in Thailand.
“I’ll probably never forget it. I emailed her that day. And that evening, my cellphone rings,” he says. “It’s her.”
The woman’s English was limited, but Wagner did his best to explain. She was eager to help.
Wagner sent her a “sanitized” image from Chanin’s computer. She recognized her daughter and the setting in Doha, Qatar, where they had once lived.
“We have the evidence. We have an approximate timeline when the offence occurred,” says Wagner. “We have the location of the offence, the identity of the victim, the identity of the accused — if this would have happened in Canada, it would have been a no-brainer.”
But the crime didn’t occur in Canada.
Wagner realized the possibility of pursuing charges under a rarely used Criminal Code section aimed at so-called “sexual tourism.” It allows police in this country to charge Canadians for certain offences committed on foreign soil.
Wagner laid out his case for Crown prosecutor Michael Segu, who sent a file up the chain. It got the nod from the attorney-general’s office, becoming the first time Saskatchewan police would use the sexual tourism law, and one of less than 10 such cases across the country.
“Anytime there is evidence of hands-on offending against a child that we can actually identify, that raises the bar even higher,” says Segu. “So many of the kids (in child pornography cases), unfortunately, we don’t know who they are.”
The investigation, dubbed Project Fexpat (the F for RCMP F-division) shifted to Thailand to collect witness statements that could hold up in the Canadian courts. It took four months to get everything in place — what the three ICE officers later learned was actually “lightning fast” for an international investigation. Mere days before they were due to leave in August last year, they finally got approval from the Royal Thai Embassy.
“It was a total team venture to make this happen,” says Staff Sgt. Ron Weir, a Regina police officer and ICE provincial co-ordinator. The RCMP Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in Ottawa provided critical logistical and financial support.
In Thailand, the team of three grew to about a dozen, with the involvement of a Bangkok-based RCMP officer who is a liaison between Canadian and Thai police, the Canadian embassy, Royal Thai Police (“they went out of their way to assist us,” says Weir) who travelled five hours both ways to bring the family to the interview, interpreters, and a member of Fight Against Child Exploitation Foundation (FACE), a Thai non-government agency that provided victim support.
“She (the FACE official) was just thrilled that we were over there — that we travelled all that way to conduct this investigation for one of their children,” says Weir.
He won’t reveal the cost of the investigation, but says it was justified.
“We were fortunate that between our budget and the assistance from the national centre, we were able to make this work. But I’m just not sure if there would be anybody that would be willing to say it’s going to cost too much when you’re out there trying to protect this child,” says Weir.
In Bangkok, the Saskatchewan investigators got a firsthand look at the problem.
“There’s some beautiful areas of Thailand … but where we were in Bangkok was very disturbing to me, what we saw,” says Weir.
Wagner views images of child pornography in his investigations. But this was different. “To see an older Caucasian man walking down the street with a young Thai girl — you see that all day, all night. It’s that blatant,” he adds.
Only once the officers met with the victim’s mother in Thailand did she fully understand what had occurred.
Wagner didn’t need a translator to read her face. “She was just devastated that some harm came to her child.”
Taking a statement from a child abuse victim is difficult under the best of conditions. This interview was further complicated by the need for a translator, cultural differences, and being police officers from a foreign country.
It wasn’t until a second interview, with ICE officer Cpl. Candace Benko, that the girl, then age 12, fully disclosed what had occurred.
The evidence gathered in Saskatchewan and Thailand led to additional charges against Chanin for the crimes committed in Doha, Qatar between 2006 and 2009. He pleaded guilty in December to sexual interference, possession of child pornography and creating child porn.
“The trauma would have been significantly increased given the cultural barriers, travelling to a foreign country to testify about extremely intimate activities, very personal things by a very young person,” notes Segu. “So there was obviously some credit given to Mr. Chanin for accepting responsibility and not forcing this victim to have to go through that.”
Sexual tourism laws don’t actually permit a sexual assault charge. They apply only to sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, and making or possessing child pornography. But Segu notes there was no doubt Chanin committed a sexual assault on the young girl — and he told a Saskatoon judge as much.
The abuse also wasn’t isolated to that incident, as shown by images captured at other times and by the girl’s statement.
Back in Thailand during the interview at the Canadian embassy, the girl had told the Regina officers how she had always wanted to go to Canada — but she also feared it. She knew the man who had abused her lived there.
Chanin might well have got away with it — but for Walsh.
Asked how often a friend blows the whistle on such crimes, Wagner says, “there’s been spouses, there’s been ex-spouses … it has happened.” But not too often.
In a similar case recently, a visitor went to put on music at a friend’s house in Weyburn, only to discover the CD was filled with child pornography. He gave it to police, who found some 5,000 images.
Despite the best efforts of ICE to search out offenders, it’s a crime often hidden behind closed doors.
“That (whistleblower) could be the only way that person would ever be identified,” notes Wagner.
Walsh confronted a mix of emotions when he learned police had charged Chanin. “There was a sense of relief; there was a sense of regret” — regret that his suspicions had proven right.
“Brad’s life is changed forever … But then again, I said to myself, somewhere on the planet are children that he has screwed up for life.
“Sexual abuse goes to the core. It damages your soul,” he adds.
Chanin had long struggled with depression, alcoholism and drug addiction. He “was in a very dark place,” his mother told the Leader-Post immediately after her son’s arrest.
His lawyer Lisa Watson told court Chanin became suicidal upon his arrest. He eventually disclosed to a counsellor that he too was sexually abused as a child. She said Chanin had actually deleted the video of the near-rape (it was recovered by forensic investigators) because “he was disgusted with himself.”
But he didn’t stop collecting images from the Internet, some of which showed even toddlers and babies in sexual poses or being abused.
“While you likely don’t have a name for many of the other victims, they do have names, they do have families. They do have community,” Judge Marty Irwin told Chanin. “And they’re going to have to deal with what you and other pedophiles did to them for the rest of their lives.”
Chanin was sentenced to a four-year prison term, less the 110 days already served while remanded in custody.
How Chanin felt about being turned in by his friend is unknown. He declined a chance to comment for this story.
As to what he might say to his former friend if their paths ever crossed, Walsh bluntly replies: “What were you f—n’ thinking comes to mind.”
After Chanin’s arrest, Walsh wrote on Facebook: “I take no pleasure in doing what I did. Many doors of friendship closed for me that day. Those of you who are disturbed by behaviour such as this need be reminded that we are all capable of speaking up.”
He doesn’t regret doing so, even if it cost other friendships.
“What I find sad is how society wants people like Brad punished, yet those like myself who act, suffer an equal but silent rejection from their own peer groups. I am no exception.”
But Walsh offers a final truth.
“At the end of the day, he was my friend,” he says. “If people think that it’s always a stranger that you read about in the paper doing stuff like this, you’re fooled.”