Port Moody police arrest hockey coach on child porn charges

Port Moody police said they are in the midst of a "very complex investigation that is active and ongoing" involving a former coach from the Burnaby Winter Club

Port Moody police have arrested a former coach from the Burnaby Winter Club on child pornography charges. 

Robert Ward, president of the club, told The Tri-City News Port Moody police called him late Wednesday night and notified him officers had arrested a former coach.

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In an email to The Tri-City News, a spokesperson for the Port Moody Police Department said it was involved in a "very complex investigation that is active and ongoing," and that following the arrest, a court released the coach on “strict protective conditions.”  

While both Ward and Port Moody police wouldn’t confirm the details of the charges, according to an internal letter addressed to players’ families and leaked to Global News, the former coach has been charged with possession of child pornography, telecommunication to lure a child under 16, and importing and distributing child pornography. 

At no point have any of the club’s coaches failed a background check, Ward said, adding the club will review its screening procedures.

Both the police spokesperson and Ward would not release the name of the coach, citing a court imposed publication ban, a common practice with sex crimes cases involving underage victims.

The news comes at a busy time for the club — one that has many players from the Tri-Cities — as it holds try-outs for the new hockey season.

Ward said the club and Port Moody Police Department held an information session for parents over the weekend "to take questions and make sure that all of their concerns are met."

Approximately, 75 families turned out to the meeting, which was attended by several Port Moody police officers.

"We understand that this is a very hot topic for parents — [for] any parent with kids in sports. This is the situation we all hope we never have to run up against. So that's why we're just trying to be as accessible as possible, both to the general public and to our membership."

Ward, who is a Coquitlam resident, said parents asked questions and police did a good job explaining the situation. 

"They were were incredibly helpful, providing the best answers they could. [But] the case is under investigation. There is a lot they can’t disclose."

None of the allegations against the accused coach have been proven in court.

— With files from Diane Strandberg

 

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