Hamilton police have charged nine individuals in southern Ontario following an investigation triggered by the sexual assault of a child.
Hamilton Police say they were alerted to a possible sexual assault of a child by the Catholic Children’s Aid Society on May 3. Police say they interviewed a 7-year-old female child that day, and later in the evening arrested her mother’s boyfriend.
The 34-year-old Hamilton man faces close to 40 charges including sexual assault, sexual interference and making and possessing child pornography.
The girl’s mother has also been charged with failing to provide the necessities of life.
After arresting the boyfriend, police say they executed warrants on the home and seized several items including electronics.
They discovered another young female victim while examining the electronic devices and found she had been sexually assaulted by more than one person and was being made available for sexual services on Craigslist. Police say the second victim is the older sibling of the 7-year-old.
Police then opened Project Links to investigate if there were more victims in other jurisdictions.
Police forces in Niagara, Waterloo and Chatham-Kent worked with Hamilton Police and the OPP to execute 14 searches and 15 production orders. Over 100 devices were seized.
WATCH: Multiple charges laid across Ontario cities in child sexual assault case
As a result, these additional individuals have been arrested:
-A 36-year-old man from Hamilton, charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, and making and possessing child pornography
-a 50-year old man from Hamilton, charged with making, possessing and distributing child pornography and communicating for the purpose of sexual services under 18 years old
-a 38-year-old man from Waterloo, charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, and making and possessing child pornography
-a 52-year-old man from St. Catharines, charged with making arrangement to commit sexual interference and possession of child pornography
Police say they also discovered a link to an unrelated historic sexual assault on a female in Hamilton.
Waterloo police charged Geoffrey Burnet, a 48-year-old from Kitchener with making and possessing child pornography.
He was released after being charged by Waterloo police, then re-arrested by Hamilton police and further charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.
Burnet is a former teacher with Columbia International College, Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, Upper Grand District School Board and the Toronto District School Board.
Hamilton police believe there may be more victims from when Burnet was a teacher.
Story by Leslie Whyte, Global News