August 23, 2021
Toronto Star

'Upskirt' video accused charged with child porn

Police say pornography found during investigation of video case

  A man accused of making hidden-camera footage up the skirts of Toronto women also made child pornography of the worst kind, featuring the rape of children as young as 6, police said Friday.

The latest allegations suggest there's nothing humorous about voyeurs who some may perceive to be making secret videos as a joke, Staff-Insp. Gary Ellis said.

"Approximately 20 per cent of voyeurs have also committed sexual assault or rape," Ellis said, reading from a recently released federal government report on criminal voyeurism.

Most voyeurs, Ellis said, also engage in sexually deviant behaviour, trying to rub or touch women on the street.

"It's not something people look at for fun, it's actually something people with this condition use as fuel to build up to sexual assault," Ellis said.

In this case, police say they discovered child pornography while investigating the man for his alleged production of hidden camera videos, the majority of which featured adult women. Ellis said investigators are executing more search warrants and pursuing more charges against him.

He allegedly manufactured and offered for sale CD-ROMS of child pornography, "of the worst kind, including children as young as 6 involved in full sexual rape and abuse of all kinds," Ellis said.

The tapes, Ellis said, depicted about 10 different children whom police have yet to identify. Officers won't release pictures of the children's faces so as not to further victimize them.

Instead, an international effort is being coordinated by Interpol, using facial recognition software to check the images against pictures of children who are missing and known to be victims of abuse.

Ellis said "upskirt" videos, child pornography and sex assault can't be looked at in isolation. He noted that 80 per cent of Toronto's sex assault victims are under 18.

"We have a societal problem and we as a community all have to face it. We have to do more to protect our children."

Ellis said new legislation is needed to prosecute people making hidden camera videos. Canadian child pornography laws were last revamped in 1994, before the Internet came to play a major role in the crime.

Eugene Francois has been charged with making and possessing kiddie porn, a week after police laid a mischief charge in connection with the secret videos. He appeared in court Friday, and was released on $5,000 bail.

Ellis said the investigation into Francois's alleged crimes has taken months because police must prove the people he allegedly filmed for the upskirt videos, including students at a downtown Toronto girl's school, didn't consent to be taped.

Ellis said the primary charge available to police in cases of hidden-camera videos is mischief, but sexual assault could also be applied.

Police have lobbied both the federal and provincial governments to give them new tools to deal with the hundreds of sex-crime cases related to the Internet that they're investigating.

Ellis said that he has met with Bob Runciman, Ontario's minister of public safety and security, and is hopeful he will announce new resources soon.