Russell Wolfe pleads guilty in child pornography case
Published Monday, March 20, 2017 11:53AM CST
Last Updated Monday, March 20, 2017 7:01PM CST
A Saskatoon man is guilty of 20 offences in connection to a historical child pornography investigation.
Russell Dennis Wolfe pleaded guilty Monday in Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench to eight counts of sexual assault and four counts each of making child pornography and paying for sexual services from someone under 18.
The 58-year-old also pleaded guilty to one count each of making child pornography available and possessing it, and two counts of breaching conditions.
“Clearly serious offences he’s pled guilty to. It was very important for Mr .Wolfe that he ensure the complainants not have to testify in this matter,” defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle said outside of court.
Wolfe was originally scheduled for a jury trial this spring before he entered the guilty pleas. While the charges were being read out, a victim in the case cried, hugged and thanked members of the Saskatchewan Internet Child Exploitation Unit before leaving the courtroom.
Wolfe was first arrested in the case in May 2014 as part of a country-wide police bust — known as Operation Snapshot III. The investigation saw more than 150 people charged.
He was hit with additional charges later that year and at least twice more before Monday’s court date. He was facing 50 charges at one point during the investigation, according to the ICE Unit.
“All the charges that he pled guilty to today are in some shape or form charges that he was charged with back in 2014 and 2015,” Crown prosecutor Lana Morelli said.
He pleaded guilty to all 20 charges he was facing Monday.
The case involves 13 victims between the ages of nine and 18. Two of the victims are now dead and the identities of two victims are still not known, according to the ICE Unit.
Morelli said each victim was represented in the 20 charges.
The 20 offences occurred between 1997 and 2015.
Pfefferle told reporters he's received notice there’s a possibility the Crown will apply for Wolfe to be designated a dangerous offender. He said the defence will argue against the application, and that a life sentence is possible with a danger offender designation.
He said the defence is anticipating a sentence in the double digits. Wolfe is scheduled back court to begin the sentencing process on April 3.