by Mike Tenszen
Moncton child pornographer is the latest victim of a New Hampshire cyber-sleuth who patrols the Net for those who prey on the young
Jean-Paul Baraly pleaded guilty in Moncton court yesterday to charges of possessing and distributing child porn.
Jean-Paul Baraly, 33, a Moncton Hospital employee pleaded guilty in provincial court yesterday to distributing child pornography on the Internet, and also to possession of child pornography.
The cyber-sleuthing that brought Mr. Baraly to justice was begun early last year by James McLaughlin, a veteran, small-town New Hampshire police detective who trapped Mr. Baraly. The U.S. investigator has nabbed 123 other Internet pornographers in the last few years -- eight of them in Canada.
In an interview yesterday, Mr. McLaughlin told a story of his part in hunting down the pedophiles who craftily use the Internet to snag their prey.
In court here yesterday, Provincial Court Judge Irwin Lampert accepted Mr. Baraly's guilty pleas, and then ordered Mr. Baraly, who is a Moncton Hospital "housekeeping" worker, to appear again in court for sentencing on April 23. The maximum sentence under the Criminal Code of Canada for distribiting child porn is 10 years; the maximum for possession is five years. Judge Lampert also ordered that a pre-sentence report be prepared by court officials on the personal background of Mr. Baraly. Those reports usually help judges get a feeling for the life of a convicted person before they have to pass sentence.
Codiac RCMP, using a search warrant, raided Mr. Baraly's Moncton home last summer after being tipped off by Mr. McLaughlin, who uses the Internet to come into contact with adults who are seeking kiddie porn. Codiac RCMP seized Mr. Baraly's computer and 45 computer discs. On them were photos of adults having sex with children, most of them young boys.
Mr. Baraly - who is not being held in custody - is being represented by Moncton lawyer James Letcher, QC, who entered the two guilty pleas on his client's behalf yesterday. Mr. Baraly, a tall, thin man with a brush cut and long sideburns, was seated in court yesterday in a long grey trenchcoat, and following his convictions he refused a request for an interview outside the courtroom.
"All adults should upgrade their (computer) skills, if only to protect their children from the electronic predators."
The two convictions yesterday against Mr. Baraly ended more than a year of intense investigation by the Codiac RCMP, led by Const. Dave Morrisey, with the direction of Crown prosecutor, Luc Labonte, and initiated by Mr. McLaughlin, an expert Internet sleuth from the tiny New Hampshire town of Kenne.
Yesterday, in a telephone interview with the Telegraph Journal, Detective McLaughlin, 42, a policeman for 22 years, said he is pleased he had a part in bringing another Canadian kiddie-porn user and distributor, Mr. Baraly, to justice in this country. He said his work had just brought another man before the court in St. John's, Nfld.
Mr. McLaughlin explained that he usually lures the Internet criminals into his computer domain by posing as a young boy working the Web for sex from adults. The U.S. police officer said he has been investigating sex crimes involving children since 1984, but about two years ago he got caught up, over the police computer, in a case involving a woman who was enticing young boys into phone sex. Mr. McLaughlin said the woman was convicted and he became more fascinated with what he could do on the Internet to bring down criminals.
"I guess I got into it by crisis, I had to do something", said the veteran cop. "So we [Mr. McLaughlin and a partner] just went on the Internet pretending to be kids."
What he found sickened him, but it also - because of his now growing skills in bringing in kiddie-porn criminals - has attracted about $300,000 (U.S.) a year to his small department from the U.S. Justice Department to support his efforts.
In the last few years, Mr. McLaughlin said he's been involved in about 123 investigations, eight of them involving Canadians, "and we've never lost a case". He said 80 per cent of these cases involve people, like Mr. Baraly, who are seeking, then recording, then distributing, photos of children having sex with adults.
But it's not just pictures, Mr. McLaughlin said yesterday. Once he's involved in a "chat room" posing as a young boy, he lures adults, mainly men, from all over the world to various U.S. destinations. They fly in to have sex with boys - from Holland, Norway, Canada, wherever. He sometimes meets the men, most often at Boston's Logan airport.
"We've arrested a lot at Logan."
When, acting as a young boy, he entices men onto the Internet, Mr. McLaughlin says he is often mailed airline tickets by these men, with requests that he travel to them for sex, or he is asked to mail to these men his soiled underwear. All of this sick business is conducted, with a few flashes of fingers on a keyboard, over the Internet. Once the New Hampshire police officer begins "chatting" with a sex predator over the Internet, "I record everything, because it really helps the prosecutors."
Mr. McLaughlin, a father of teenagers, said yesterday he has become "an expert" on the Internet and probably all adults should upgrade their skills, if only to protect their children from the electronic predators.
The glut of kiddie porn on the Internet is escalating to the point where the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has "tripled its efforts" to bring in the adult offenders, Mr. McLaughlin said yesterday. He said he works closely with all Canadian police agencies and he enjoyed working closely with the Codiac RCMP. The two provinces which have the most Internet porn activity are Ontario and Quebec, he said.
The depravity of the porno people who are lurking out there was brought home to the detective by a recent arrest of a man in New York City in one of his cases. The man had lured 25 young boys from five states into his influence. The lads were all from 12 to 15 years old.
Another man had filed away (a U.S. police record, to date) 43,000 pictures of men having sex with boys in his home filing system when the police finally raided his home, said the U.S. policeman.
Years ago, when the New Hampshire cop was toiling away on the sexual assault beat, he admitted he often went home deeply depressed because he had to sit down with sexual assault victims and hear their horror stories. He said working the Internet is now much less depressing, because he has the chance to be "pro-active", to step in and stop everything before some assaults occur. He explained that, because he is "chatting" with pedophiles, the intentions of many predators are known very early to police "and we soon catch them and that's much less distressing to me".