Edmonton theatre washroom incident results in child porn charges

WARNING: This story contains disturbing content.

A man is facing child pornography charges after an incident in the men’s washroom at West Edmonton Mall’s Scotiabank Theatre Sunday.

Edmonton police said Wednesday morning 41-year-old Aaron Voon has been charged with possession of child pornography, making child pornography and voyeurism.

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Sgt. Steve Sharpe with the Edmonton Police Service said it is alleged Voon used a mobile device to record a video of an individual in the movie theatre washroom. It happened at around 4 p.m. Sunday.

In a video posted to Facebook, a father confronts a man and accuses him of videotaping his young son at the urinal. The father demands to see the man’s phone.

In photos on the same Facebook page, the man is surrounded by three others and put in a headlock.

One witness told Global News she saw the confrontation unfold as she walked out of a screening of The Angry Birds movie with her son. She said the man’s phone was taken by the father.

“They were kind of having a little bit of a confrontation and he (the father) kept asking ‘can I just see what’s on your phone?’” Ashley Jackson said. “The father kept putting up his hands and saying ‘No, I need to see what’s on your phone- I think I saw you take a video.’”

“Then the father of the boy kept saying to his wife ‘Well, what’s on the phone did you find anything?’ And the mother goes ‘I’m still looking, I’m still looking’ and then after a couple of seconds, you kind of hear her let out this scream and that’s when she said that she found the video of her son going to the bathroom. … I won’t be able to forget that.”

Jackson said she was standing close enough to the mother that she could also see the video. While the boy’s face wasn’t in frame, she could see his body from the shoulders down and see him going to the bathroom.

Jackson said she called police and the suspect was held by people at the box office until officers arrived and took him away.

She said she was disturbed because she saw the suspect sit through the same movie she had gone to with her son.

“I grabbed my son and I had to back up and get away from the guy,” Jackson said. “My stomach dropped and I started feeling really hot in the face – I instantly felt just nauseous.”

Staff Sgt. Paul Czerwonka with the Zebra Child Protection Centre said parents need to be on the lookout for suspicious individuals.

“This happens more than people believe it happens. These people come from all levels of society. They’re not the typical ones that you may presume would be obvious to you.”

He said usually children know their offenders.

“The stranger is a very small percentage, very minimal. I would say less than five per cent of our files are stranger offenders,” Czerwonka explained.

He said people looking to prey on children will go where they frequent.

“Bathrooms are an area where there’s public access and these individuals watch where kids are going to be.”

Glori Meldrum, the founder of Little Warriors, which advocates for child sex victims, agreed. She said the alleged incident is concerning.

“If somebody is that bold – to go in and actually videotape a young child going to the bathroom – what are they going to do next?” she asked. “Anybody that preys on children – they go where the kids go – and they’re hunters. They’ll figure out a way to get access.”

Police did not say if the incident is connected to the confrontation caught on video.

-With files from Sarah Kraus.

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