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article imageToronto police lay sex tourism charges against senior citizen

By Arthur Weinreb     Mar 16, 2013 in Crime
Toronto - In what was a first for the Toronto Police Service, charges were brought against a Toronto man for offences against children that allegedly occurred in Cuba.
The charges were laid on March 8 but just made public [PDF] yesterday. James McTurk, 78, of Toronto, faces one count each of making child pornography, invitation to sexual touching, and committing an indecent act. He was also charged with six counts of sexual interference.
On July 24, 2012, McTurk was charged with possession of child pornography. It was alleged he was in possession of the material from May 18, 2011 until July 11, 2012. Further investigation revealed sexual offences against children were committed in Cuba where McTurk frequently travelled. The charges were finally laid after consent to charge him was given by the Attorney General. The consent of the federal justice minister or an attorney general of a province or territory is required before someone can be charged with sex tourism offences.
Under Canada's Criminal Code, if a sexual offence is alleged to have been committed by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada outside of the country, that offence is deemed to have been committed in Canada for purposes of launching a prosecution.
CTV reports McTurk pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in 1995. He was granted a conditional discharge and placed on probation for 18 months. Three years later he was again charged with possession of child pornography, pleaded guilty and was given a conditional sentence (house arrest) of 18 months. He was placed on probation for a further 18 months after his conditional sentence ended.
The 1998 charge was based upon videotapes showing McTurk engaging in sexual activities with girls who appeared to be between the ages of four and 14. These videos were taken in Cuba. In recent years, the senior has taken 31 trips to the island country.
McTurk has been on the National Sex Offenders Registry for years. But a joint investigation by the Toronto Star, CTV, the Miami Herald and El Nuevo, revealed shortcomings in the way Canada keeps track of sexual offenders when they leave Canada. Although a registered sex offender must advise authorities if they leave the country for seven days or more, the penalties are not severe. And Canada does not keep track of people leaving the country. Although officers with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) examine people when they enter Canada, they do not have access to the sex offender registry. They are denied such access on privacy grounds.
McTurk's arrest in July 2012 was a fluke. A police officer went to McTurk's home to check on him as he is allowed to do regarding someone on the sex offender registry. The officer found out McTurk was in Cuba and then determined when he was returning. When McTurk landed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport a secondary examination was conducted as police had requested. Several electronic devices were found in his carry-on bag. When McTurk arrived at his house, police were waiting.
An RCMP report obtained by the Toronto Star says Cuba is the most popular destination in the Americas for Canadian sex tourists and more of these people are frequenting Cuba rather than Asian countries such as Thailand.
McTurk will appear in court on the new charges on Monday.
More about james mcturk, sex tourism charges, Cuba, Pedophile, Child pornography
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