Ninety days in jail for hiding child porn on work computer

The 55-year-old, who now lives in Celista, was charged after a backlogged office printer at TRU spat out an image of a naked teenager

A former Thompson Rivers University administrator who was fired after getting caught hiding child pornography on his work computer will spend 90 days behind bars.

But it’s not yet known what other sanctions, if any, will be connected to Andrew McKay’s sentence.

The 55-year-old, who now lives in Celista, was charged after a backlogged office printer at TRU spat out an image of a naked teenager in front of an unsuspecting co-worker two years ago.

Crown prosecutor Evan Goulet said yesterday the incident unfolded on May 12, 2014, when McKay’s co-worker, Lincoln Smith, went to pick up a document from a shared office printer. At the time, McKay was the director of graduate studies at TRU.

“There was a backlog at the printer,” Goulet said. “When Dr. Smith was able to fix it, a backlog of items came out of the printer. One thing that came out was a colour photograph of a pubescent girl, 12 or 13 years old.

“It’s a selfie-style photograph of this girl taken by herself and she’s topless.”

Court heard Smith took the photo to McKay, who took it from him.

“He suggested Dr. Smith destroy the photograph because there was no way to determine where it had come from and he started to proceed to the shredding area,” Goulet said.

Smith took the photograph back and notified TRU’s IT department. McKay eventually admitted to Smith that the photo was his. Police were later called and McKay, a 23-year employee of the university, was fired a short time later.

Police seized McKay’s work computer and found three images of child pornography — the selfie, a photo of a topless undeveloped girl and a picture of a young girl with her bra undone — as well as encryption software and a “secure-delete” program.

“He stated it was to delete the files because he didn’t want to get caught with them at work,” Goulet said.

“He’s obviously a well-educated man, an intelligent man. He professes… he’s very good at being rational and solving problems. In the Crown’s assessment, that’s evident in his use of encryption software and secure-delete software as well.”

Following his guilty plea last year, McKay was ordered to undergo psychological testing. Goulet said the doctor who performed his assessment said McKay exhibits signs of hebephilia, a sexual attraction to people between 11 and 14 years of age.

“Dr. McKay has been aware of this for some time,” Goulet said. “He appears to structure his life in a way that he’s not around minors, basically.”

McKay’s guilty plea carries with it a mandatory minimum 90-day jail sentence, which Goulet and defence lawyer Shawn Buckley agree is appropriate, as well as a mandatory order he register as a sex offender for 10 years.

He must also  submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database.

Goulet asked for two years of probation with terms including limiting Internet access, mandatory counselling and limited access to children.

Goulet is also seeking an additional term that McKay be barred for a decade from volunteering or working with children.

Buckley opposed that, arguing McKay believed he was not breaking the law. Buckley presented to court a number of examples of readily available images of child nudity — including a book from the TRU library — he said were more graphic and sexual than the photos found by police on McKay’s computer.

“He actually looked at the child pornography line and believed he was not crossing that line,” Buckley said.

“His concern was actually that he was violating the university’s terms of use, which do not allow you to use computers for personal purposes.”

Buckley called McKay’s images “the tamest child pornography” and compared the content to what one might see on a European beach.

“Child nudity isn’t illegal in Canada, child pornography is,” he said, presenting the book Immediate Family, which he found in the TRU library.

“It’s interesting that Mr. McKay is fired from TRU when it was very easy to attend at the university and obtain in the possession of the university library some images which are more graphic and, in my view, some more suggestive than the ones that got Mr. McKay fired.

“When Mr. McKay was saying, ‘I looked at the legal line and I thought I was staying on the right side of the line,’ that wasn’t an unreasonable position for him to be taking.”

Kamloops provincial court Judge Mayland McKimm reserved his decision on whether McKay will be allowed to work or volunteer with children. McKimm is expected to make his decision Thursday after the Market News press deadline.

 

Salmon Arm Observer

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