Niagara police say they have rescued six children and charged six people in connection with a major child sex abuse investigation, including a mother who allegedly abused her own kids and let others sexually assault her four-year-old daughter.
Police said the case began last November with an investigation into the stabbing a man from the Niagara area, which led to allegations of a possible sexual assault of a young child.
The investigation broadened after police, including those from the Internet Child Exploitation Unit, said they had discovered evidence that more children were involved.
They said six children between the ages of four and 17, some of whom were actively being sexually victimized until police intervened, have been rescued and are now safe. All are known to the accused individuals, police added.
As the case widened, investigators focused on a 33-year-old Niagara Region mother who they allege sexually assaulted her two young daughters — one a four-year-old — and supplied “sexually explicit photographs” of them for her own personal gain, as well as making her preschooler “available to be sexually assaulted by other individuals.”
Some of the charges against her stem from alleged incidents dating back six years, Niagara police said in a release.
The woman was arrested in January and remains in custody.
Police are not releasing her name or those of the other accused, or any other details in order to protect the identity of the alleged victims.
They said the woman is facing 36 charges, including attempted murder, sexual assault with a weapon and child pornography and prostitution related offences.
Five other men have also been charged, between the ages of 29 and 38, with four from the Niagara Region and the other from Toronto. Police said one is charged with a sole count of attempted murder in relation to the November stabbing, while the remainder face sexual assault and child pornography related offences.
The investigation lasted nine months and involved 12 specialized Niagara police units along with the Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit. Police said more than 15 warrants were executed and over 60 electronic devices seized.
They said there are no other alleged victims.