Penticton’s courthouse heard sentencing positions from defence (two to five years) and Crown (six to eight) for a 21-year-old man who was instrumental in developing a child pornography forum online. (Dustin Godfrey/Western News)

Penticton man pleads guilty to creating a chid porn forum

Tyler Walker was instrumental in creating a forum online and was involved in moderating others

A 21-year-old Penticton man is facing anywhere between two and eight years incarceration for his involvement in a child pornography community, including the creation of one website and the attempted creation of another on the dark web.

Tyler Walker pleaded guilty to one count of importing and distributing child pornography in the summer, but wasn’t up for a sentencing hearing until Wednesday morning.

Crown lawyer Andrew Vandersluys compared Walker to a high-level drug dealer, above the “street-level” dealers at the bottom of the chain. Walker had been instrumental in setting up one website on the dark web for people to share and watch child pornography, according to Vandersluys.

A joint RCMP, Toronto Police and U.S. Homeland Security investigation spanned years and resulted in numerous arrests of child pornography users and publishers on the dark web, a web space that cannot be found through regular means. Instead, users access .onion sites through a Tor browser.

Walker’s activities on one commonly used child pornography site ultimately led police directly to him through his internet protocol address through a “complex web of connections.”

“(Walker) introduced himself to other users on the Gift Box Exchange site indicating ‘hello, I am Drax. Many of you know me from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. What many of you never knew is I’m also a mad lover of little girls,’” Vandersluys said.

After users on another site began to disappear, Walker also played a role in setting up a site called Child’s Play, which he named and helped to design some features, moderate and administrate.

“It is around this time in the course of the police investigation that they’ve begun to arrest some people,” Vandersluys said. “Mr. Walker’s suspicions as indicated on the websites are correct that police are now closing in, ultimately closing on him.”

For some time, Walker was a moderator on the Child’s Play site, which, by the second day, had ballooned to 2,585 registered users.

Walker was also in later conversations on Gift Box Exchange discussing the creation of a “hurtcore”-specific site ultimately named Hurt Meh, aimed at content that would specifically show children in distress during sexual acts.

After police obtained a search warrant in March 2017, Walker was arrested as he was leaving his house, where he lived with his mother. In his room, a computer was running and signed into the Child’s Play website.

Vandersluys said the aggravating factors in Walker’s case were “significant,” noting his participation in the creation and administration of a website is more high-level involvement than uploading or downloading pornography.

Vandersluys suggested a sentence of six to eight years in prison for Walker.

Defence lawyer Norm Yates countered that Walker is still young with no criminal history to speak of. Yates said Walker was “immature” before his arrest, and has since come to appreciate the gravity of his actions.

Walker has reportedly attempted to get psychiatric help, which Yates said would be best facilitated at the Ford Mountain Correctional Centre in Chilliwack, something Walker echoed in his appearance over video.

“I have a future ahead of me, I have a long life ahead of me, and I don’t expect sympathy from anybody for what I’ve done,” he said.

In order to get into a provincial jail, a sentence of less than two years would be required, and Yates suggested a sentence of two years less a day to five years, with three years of probation.

Up to this point, Walker would be eligible for 411 days of advanced credit for time served, having been in Okanagan Correctional Centre for 274 days since his arrest.

A decision will likely not be made until the new year.


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

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