Watch above: ALERT officials confirm a 26-year-old Thorsby man has been charged with a long list of child-exploitation related offences. As Shallima Maharaj explains, police believe the alleged crimes all happened in the small community.
EDMONTON – A 26-year-old Thorsby man is accused of committing a long list of offences against four boys in four separate instances.
Sean Hudson is facing 20 charges, including five counts of sexual assault, four counts of sexual interference, five counts of breach of conditions, five counts of child luring and one count of invitation to sexual touching.
All of the alleged offences involved boys under 14 and happened in Thorsby.
The charges come after an investigation by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) and Thorsby RCMP.
Officials say the alleged offences began in November 2009. Hudson was first arrested and charged by Thorsby RCMP in June 2013. He was later released with conditions, but rearrested in January 2014 after information of the second victim surfaced.
Then, in May 2014, ALERT’s Child Exploitation Unit became involved in the investigation when two more victims were identified. He was arrested again in June in Thorsby.
ALERT could not say why he was released.
Hudson was most recently arrested on August 19.
It’s believed all the alleged offences happened before the first arrest.
Investigators say the alleged offences were not random because the victims knew the offender. They say Hudson allegedly befriended family members of the victims in order to get access to the children.
Hudson is being held in police custody and is scheduled to appear in court on October 22.
Sgt. Mike Lokken said the police investigation began with “one brave young man” who came forward.
“Had it not been for him getting the ball rolling, there is the potential that police would have been unaware,” Lokken said.
Hudson is the third alleged sex offender to be uncovered in the small village southwest of Edmonton.
“Everybody is pretty shaken up about it,” said Thorsby resident Kristi Tindall.
Tindall has three children and says they’ve been forced to give up a lot of their freedom because of incidents like this.
“The kids don’t go out and play on the street. We watch our kids walk across the street to play with their friends. They don’t get to walk to school anymore, we have to walk them to school. So they kind of lost all their freedom.”
Tindall says she’s spoken with her kids about the latest case, but says her teaching methods have changed.
“You think you live in a small town and it’s friendly and everybody knows each other, and yet you know nobody. And that’s just what everybody is discussing now is how you have to teach more than just stay away from strangers, because most of the time sex offenders are people that the kids know.”
Thorsby’s mayor says this is incredibly serious. The village has reached out to its MLA in hopes of securing additional resources to deal with child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.
“It’s causing quite a lot of turmoil and frustration in the community. Residents are feeling a sense they’re not safe in their community,” said Thorsby mayor Barry Rasch.
Lokken said there’s no indication, yet, there were other additional victims connected to Hudson. Lokken says the accused travelled through Alberta and B.C. for both work and pleasure.
For that reason, he said other victims remain a possibility.
“If there are other victims, we’re encouraging them to come forward,” Lokken said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact local police, Crime Stoppers or Cybertip广州桑拿论坛.
With files from