PETERBOROUGH-The OPP Child Sexual Exploitation Unit (CSEU) and the Peterborough County detachment have arrested and charged a Selwyn resident following a child pornography and child luring investigation.
On November 24, 2022, police arrested a Selwyn resident after a search warrant was executed at his residence. During the execution, multiple electronic devices were seized for analysis. As a result of this investigation, Thomas Christopher Cavanagh, 46-years-old, was arrested and charged with the following Criminal Code offences:
- Transmitting sexually explicit material to a child contrary to section 171.1(1)b;
- Making child pornography contrary to section 163.1(2);
- Distribution of child pornography contrary to section 163.1(3);
- Possession of child pornography contrary to section 163.1(4) – three counts; and,
- Luring a child for a sexual purpose contrary to section 172.1(1)a – five counts.
“Children are our most valuable and precious members of society. Many victims of child sexual abuse are so young that they cannot tell their story. Every time an image or video depicting that abuse is shared, that child is re-victimized. Members of the OPP CSEU will continue to pursue individuals who exploit children on the Internet.” said the OPP.
The school board confirmed Cavanagh is a grade four teacher at St Joseph Catholic Elementary School in Douro and as of Thursday evening, he was still listed as a teacher on the school website.
‘In all things, the safety of our students is foremost in our minds. We take all allegations of staff misconduct very seriously and we will cooperate with police on this matter fully.” Geln Eagle, Communications Manager, PVNCCDSB told Kawartha 411 News. “The matter is now before the courts, which means we cannot provide any further information about the nature of the charges or the ongoing police investigation.”
Eagle says Cavanagh has been removed from all Board workplaces and prohibited from any interactions with students indefinitely and the Board will be making available mental health support at St. Joseph CES Douro should any student require any addition
PVNCCDSB also employs another teacher by the name of Chris Murray Cavanagh who works at St. Martin CES in Ennismore.
“We want to emphatically state that Chris Murray Cavanagh, Grade 4 teacher at St. Martin CES in Ennismore has nothing to do with the charges or any involvement in this situation.”
For information on how you can help go to protectchildren.ca and download the “Child Sexual Abuse – It Is Your Business” brochure from the Canadian Center for Child Protection. This is an important first step that can save a child.
Parents are reminded to take a proactive approach to help protect their children from online sexual exploitation by speaking with their children regarding internet safety. Parents and anyone interested in protecting children can find resources to assist them at cybertip.ca.
Police are asking anyone who may have information regarding this investigation or if you have information regarding internet child exploitation, please contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122. If wish to remain anonymous you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or ontariocrimestoppers.ca. Reporting information may also be made on the internet through cybertip.ca.
This story has been updated to include more information on Cavanagh and comment from the school board.