Autistic four-year-old used as a porn subject

Rosie
Rosie Gillingham
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

St. John's man pleads guilty

WARNING: This story contains graphic content.

Sixty-five disturbing, sexually explicit pictures of a four-year-old autistic girl flashed across a computer screen.

Provincial court was quiet Tuesday as Judge Colin Flynn viewed each image on a monitor turned to face the bench, away from spectators.

They showed the girl naked and in sexually revealing positions.

In one, she’s holding a sign that reads, “F--k toy for you.”

Police found all of them on Ed Walsh’s computer on Oct. 5, 2007.

The 44-year-old from St. John’s pleaded guilty Tuesday to possessing child pornography and making child pornography using the autistic girl.

And those 65 photos were just a fraction of Walsh’s disturbing collection.

The autistic girl is from this area, but there were roughly 300 other images that had been downloaded from various sources on the Internet and showed other children, some as young as 18 months old, being made to perform obscene and brutal acts, including bestiality and sex with adults.

The nature of his relationship with the autistic girl is protected by a publication ban.

When Walsh was first led into court earlier in the day, it was supposed to be for a status report on his case.

Crown prosecutor Robin Fowler pointed out to Judge Greg Brown — who had been on the bench in Courtroom No. 7 at the time — that it was Walsh’s eighth court appearance and he still didn’t have a lawyer.

Walsh surprised everyone when he stood and said, “Your Honour, can I change my plea to guilty at this time?”

When Brown asked him if he wanted a lawyer, he acknowledged he didn’t have one and added, “I kind of would like to put this behind me.”

The case was then set over for a few hours and switched to another courtroom, with Flynn presiding.

Once proceedings resumed, Const. Ed Billard of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s child exploitation unit took the stand to present the huge collection of photos.

Most of them, Billard said, would have been inaccessible to ordinary computer users, but were retrieved from Walsh’s computer by police using specialized software.

In the photo of the autistic girl holding the sign, the words were accompanied by what Billard called a personal banner or trademark.

“It’s used by (child porn) traders to show they’re the ones who created (the photo),” Billard testified.

“It might even be done at the request of other traders.”

Walsh, who was essentially representing himself, was asked if he wanted to view the photo evidence.

He shook his head, raised his hand and said, “No, I don’t.”

Flynn suggested the case be set over to today for sentencing, but Walsh asked for a pre-sentence report and said he may consult with a lawyer before he is sentenced.

The sentencing hearing will be held March 28.

Walsh has been in custody since November 2010.

He had been released on strict conditions shortly after his arrest in March 2009, but when he failed to show up for his court date in July 2010, the judge issued a warrant for his arrest. At the time, he had been working in Calgary, but was flown back to this province and taken to jail.

Each time he has been escorted in and out of court since then, he managed to avoid reporters’ cameras, and Tuesday was no different.

 

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: St. John's, Calgary

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page