July 18, 1996

Cyberporn charges

by Stephanie Rubec and Sarah Green

A 54-year-old Merrickville man has been charged with possessing child pornography downloaded from the Internet.

James Bruce Ritchie was charged after members from the Ontario Provincial Police's pornography crime unit, Project P, seized about 2,000 computer files containing child pornography from his Mill St. home on Tuesday.

In addition to the files, which contained images downloaded from the Internet, police also seized documents and a personal computer.

The undercover OPP investigation, which also involved Kemptville OPP and U.S. customs officers, began 10 months ago when Project P members received a tip, said Det. Staff Sgt. Bob Matthews.

This charge is just the tip of the iceberg in an ongoing investigation, said Matthews.

"We will attempt to determine the source of the child pornography. The investigation will involve the U.S. and other foreign, European countries."

Ritchie, who refused to comment yesterday, is to appear in provincial court in Brockville tomorrow.

Neighbors said Ritchie, who is married with a grown son and daughter, is a self-employed former member of the armed forces who now works out of his home, selling and distributing assembly kits for horse stalls.

Copyright © 1996 by the Ottawa Sun. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.