A Pemberton man and Lil'wat councillor has been arrested on charges of child luring and making sexually explicit material available to a child following an undercover operation by the RCMP.
The investigation into 40-year-old Edward Luke Johnny began in July when an officer from the B.C. Integrated Child Exploitation (BC ICE) Unit posing as a 13-year-old boy was contacted by the accused after posting on a popular online classifieds website, police said.
"Despite the '13-year-old male" divulging his age very early on in the correspondence, Edward Luke Johnny continued to pursue the 'boy' in chat communications which became increasingly sexual in nature," stated an RCMP release.
Several days later, Johnny allegedly exposed himself on camera to the officer, whom he still believed to be a teenage boy, according to police.
A search warrant was executed on Aug. 12 at the WorkBC Employment Services Centre in Whistler, where Johnny worked as a career counsellor, according to information sworn to obtain a search warrant obtained by the CBC.
A spokesperson for WorkBC told the news outlet Johnny resigned from his position following his arrest last month and that the company, which conducts background checks on all employees, will review its workplace policies in the aftermath of the arrest.
"This case highlights how quickly and aggressively child predators coerce children into online relationships," said Acting Sergeant Hernan Topacio of the BC ICE unit in the release. "Remain informed of your child’s online activities. Educate yourself and your children about the dangers of communicating with strangers online. Any child with an online presence is a potential target for these manipulative and insatiable predators."
Johnny has been charged with one count of luring a child and one count of making sexually explicit material available to a child.
He is scheduled to appear in North Vancouver provincial court on Oct. 14.
Johnny was re-elected to the Lil'wat Nation's council this summer. At press time, a call to the band office has not been returned.
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