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Investigator travels to Philippines to meet child sex abuse victims he rescued, and testify at trial
Published Thursday, June 7, 2018 7:04PM CST
On an island in the Philippines at least nine children were being sexually abused in a home. At the same time, in Saskatoon, Philip Chicoine was watching the abuse live online in his parent’s basement.
He instructed the abusers what to do and told them where to point the camera, adding to a collection of child pornography described by investigators as “the worse they have ever seen.”
“This case stuck with me,” Cpl. Jared Clake told CTV News Thursday. “It was a high pressure case knowing that you had kids at risk.”
Clarke traveled to Leyte, an island in the Philippines last week and met some of the children he helped rescue. He said when he first met the children at a shelter they were quiet, but they smiled when they talked about their favourite fast food, so he brought them each a meal later in the week.
“The only time I had seen these kids was in some pretty dark circumstances,” Clarke said. “So, the chance to bring a smile to their face and just see them in a better spot was a really cool experience and something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Chicoine was arrested in March 2017 and pleaded guilty to 40 child porn-related charges. He met women online and paid them to livestream the sexual abuse of children.
Police in Saskatoon worked with officers in the Philippines and eventually a woman was arrested and charged with abusing nine children who were taken from her home. Clarke traveled to Leyte to testify at the woman’s trial. Her husband was arrested two days before Clarke testified and now the two are being tried together.
Some of the children in the videos are the woman’s own kids, while others are her nieces, nephews and children from the neighbourhood.
Clarke visited the home where the children were rescued from. He said it had a bright pink exterior and stood out in an impoverished area because of its pane glass windows and shingles.
“They were living quite well off of this, so it’s nice knowing that’s at least put to an end,” he said.
Chicoine spent $23,000 on online child pornography, with $19,000 given to the Philippines.
In November, he was handed the longest sentence in Saskatchewan for similar crimes – 12 years in prison. Crown prosecutor Lana Morelli had asked for 17 years and has appealed the sentence.
“This case defied all of the boxes that we could put an offender into,” she said. “It hit home because of the number of children that it involved and the span, and how far-reaching it was.”
Morelli has been prosecuting child pornography cases for the last four years and said it’s rewarding to know the work has made a direct impact on childrens’ lives, but said it’s a sad reminder that the children seen in images and videos exist in real life.
Both Morelli and Clarke say the ultimate goal of their work is to save children.
“This was an example of being able to do that,” Clarke said. “And that added bonus of being able to see those kids and have some laughs and giggles, and some spaghetti with them at the shelter was super rewarding and kind of put a nice bow on it at the end.”
The trial in Leyte is still underway and an outcome isn’t expected until sometime in August, according to Clarke.
No date has been set for the court to hear the appeal of Chicoine’s sentence.