'Highly respected' Alabama evangelist arrested on charges of molesting a teenage boy

Kenny Tucker
April 13, 2018

A three-year global investigation into the online sexual abuse of children has resulted in the arrest of over 150 people, including 16 Canadians, police revealed on Thursday.

"Unfortunately this was not the first time it happened, but I can tell you it was the last", she said. Blackadar says the alleged abuser was doing it for the sexual gratification of himself and for those online, "who actively encouraged the abuse while it was happening live".

Police began investigating the case three weeks ago and obtained an arrest warrant for Bowen on Monday.

Project Mercury is a joint investigation between authorities in Canada, the US and eight European countries, including the U.K., France, and Germany.

In July 2015, Toronto police witnessed a live-streaming event in which a six-year-old child was abused while other people from around the world commented and directed the abuser.

Project Mercury's roots go back to 2014, when investigators in the United Kingdom uncovered a network of people allegedly livestreaming, recording and distributing instances of child sexual abuse.

"The offender also was inviting members of this community to attend and engage in the sexual abuse of this child by drugging the child with narcotics to facilitate the abuse", Blackadar said. Myron Demkiw said the project took a significant toll on investigators, but was essential both for the safety of the affected children and the knowledge of the public at large.

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A Saskatoon man was subsequently convicted of multiple child porn-related charges and an application has been made to designate him as a risky offender, police said.

Canadian jurisdictions involved in the case include Ottawa, Belleville, Ont., Thunder Bay, Ont., Edmonton, Saskatoon, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Police do not plan to release more details of the case due to its sensitive nature and the age of the victim.

"But it very important that we talk about it", he said. The child was also rescued.

Melissa Ruiz, attaché for Homeland Security Investigations in Ottawa, commended everyone involved in Project Mercury, adding their efforts have led to the arrests of approximately 58 suspected predators in the U.S.

An Alabama youth evangelist has been arrested on child sex charges.

"Of those six, the most serious was a youth worker who drove vulnerable adults around the United Kingdom", Ellis said.

Blackadar said technology has multiplied the potential for the sexual abuse of children and she said investigators are urging anyone with a sexual interest in children to come forward to police or health professionals to receive treatment rather than consuming child sex abuse material.

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