Abbotsford Law Courts (Photo: Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford Law Courts (Photo: Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford man convicted of having 1,700 child-porn images

Keith Thibodeau argued that someone else could have saved the photos on his devices

An Abbotsford man was recently found guilty of possessing child pornography after arguing at trial that the images could have been saved by one of several other residents living in the same home.

Keith Alfred Joseph Thibodeau, 50, was convicted April 20 in Abbotsford provincial court. He was acquitted on a second charge of making child porn available.

According to court documents, the Abbotsford Police Department received a report in October 2018 through the U.S.-based National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children that an address in Abbotsford had downloaded images of child sexual abuse.

The name associated with the downloads was Thibodeau’s, and the IP address was linked to a basement suite in Abbotsford.

Police obtained a search warrant, which was executed at the residence on Oct. 30, 2018. Thibodeau and two other people were in the suite at the time, and the landlord and her family lived upstairs.

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The court documents indicate that police located 14 electronic devices, but only two turned out to be relevant to the investigation.

One was a tablet, which was being charged on a coffee table next to the sofa and in arm’s reach of where Thibodeau had been sitting when police entered the suite.

The other was a laptop that was located inside a cabinet in the living room and contained two hard drives.

The tablet and two hard drives were found to contain almost 1,700 images and four videos of child pornography, the documents state.

They indicate that 185 of the photos were of a girl under the age of 18 which appeared to be of an explicit “modelling shoot.” In one of the images not classified as child porn, Thibodeau is seated on a couch right beside the girl, who is dressed only in underwear.

One of the photos shows her holding a stuffed animal, which an investigator testified is common in child pornography as a way to emphasize that the subject is young.

The investigation also found hundreds of images on the tablet depicting the groin area of a man who police concluded was Thibodeau because an eagle tattoo in the pictures matched the one that Thibodeau had.

Thibodeau’s lawyer argued at trial that an unknown user could have saved the child pornography on the tablet and hard drives.

But Judge David Silverman said he had no doubt that the devices belonged to Thibodeau and that he was the one who had downloaded the illegal images.

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User accounts, email addresses and photos of Thibodeau were found on the tablet, and the hard drives contained meta-data that showed him to be the user.

Silverman said, even if he were to buy the defence that someone else could have saved the images, Thibodeau “was then either reckless or wilfully blind as to the child pornography” stored on them.

The judge said it would be “speculative and not reasonable” to believe that someone else had used Thibodeau’s devices to store child pornography.

The Crown had also argued that Thibodeau used virtual or cloud storage, thereby making available the child pornography under his control.

But Silverman said he could not convict him of that charge because the cloud storage was private and Thibodeau had not uploaded the images to software for other users to access.

Sentencing will be set for a later date.



vhopes@abbynews.com

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