Online investigation leads to child porn charges against man, 56

Ronald Gardner was also charged in Abbotsford with breaching his bail conditions

Police are continuing to investigate a 56-year-old man who was charged earlier this year with child pornography offences in Burnaby and with breaching his conditions in Abbotsford.

BC RCMP issued a press release today (Thursday) to announce the charges, which were laid in March following an online investigation by the BC Integrated Child Exploitation (BC ICE) unit.

Police say that Ronald Neale Gardner, 56, of no fixed address was arrested and charged on March 20 with making child pornography and arranging to commit a sexual offence against a child.

He was also charged with failing to comply with a prohibition order originating from previous child-porn-related charges.

The investigation began in February of this year when an online investigator, posing as a single mother of two, entered an online chat website which was known for being used to discuss sexual interests in children.

The investigator engaged in conversation with a user of the site, and the chat quickly turned

sexual in nature.

Police say the suspect allegedly described various sexual acts he wished to engage in with the investigator’s (fictitious) children.

The suspect was under surveillance by the BC Integrated Sexual Predator Observation Team on March 10, when he went to a Burnaby restaurant with the alleged intention of meeting the “mother” and participating in sex acts with her young daughter.

Gardner was taken into custody and was released on bail, with several conditions restricting his access to children, computer devices and the internet.

He was again arrested on April 4 by Abbotsford Police for allegedly breaching his conditions by accessing the internet.

Gardner allegedly had a computer tablet in his vehicle when an officer investigated why he was parked in a fire zone on Vedder Way, and the device was allegedly connected to the internet, said Const. Ian MacDonald.

Gardner remains in custody, and BC ICE has continued its investigation.

The BC RCMP is asking that anyone aware of any incidents involving online child exploitation report them to local police (604-859-5225 in Abbotsford) or through cybertip.ca.