Sentencing delayed for teacher in child porn case

By Patrick Burles - @PatrickBurles on Twitter
March 13, 2018 - 2:05pm

LETHBRIDGE – Sentencing has been delayed for a Lethbridge school teacher, who pleaded guilty to a number of child pornography charges last year.

Dwayne Schnell was scheduled to be sentenced later this week, however, defence lawyer Greg White had the matter called forward Tuesday, Mar. 13, so it could be adjourned. White explained that they just received a forensic assessment that had been prepared for Schnell, and that they would need additional time to prepare.

The matter was then adjourned to Mar. 29, at which time it’s anticipated a new sentencing date will be set.

In October of 2017, Schnell pleaded guilty to charges of distributing, publishing, and making child pornography, in connection with offences that ranged between December of 2014 and February of 2017. It was at that time that White asked the court to order the pre-sentence report, requesting that the authors determine if Schnell is diagnosed as a pedophile and for a risk assessment.

Authorities were tipped off by Skype in December of 2016, and later by Yahoo, that one of their users had been sharing child pornography. An investigation led police to obtain a search warrant for Schnell’s home, and when they informed him of their reason for being there, he told officers that he was responsible.

An examination of Schnell’s electronic devices revealed numerous online chats of a sexual nature with girls who appeared to be under the age of 18, in which he shared images of child porn.

As the investigation continued, police searched a Dropbox account that belonged to Schell. On the account they discovered 150 images of students that were taken without their knowledge, and which were determined to be child pornography. Another 55 child porn images of another youth were also found during the search.

“As a result of what was found in the Dropbox accounts, there was further investigation conducted to determine the identity of some of the children in the images that were contained in the Dropbox account, and that led to the discovery of several students, or the identification I should say of several students,” said special prosecutor Carolyn Ayre, after the guilty pleas were entered.

“From the angle that I've seen the images, I don't think that they would have consented,” she added.

Schnell remains out of custody on bail, with conditions that he live with his parents in Calgary, and that he have no contact with children under the age of 16 or access to the internet – with limited exceptions for both.

After Schnell was initially charged, officials with Ecole La Verendrye, where he taught, stated that he would not be teaching at the school.

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