“Benjamin Levin granted $100,000 bail, charged with two more child porn offences” & related articles

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Police have laid new child exploitation charges against a University of Toronto professor and member of Kathleen Wynne’s transition team.

The Toronto Star

Published on Wed Jul 10 2013

By:  News reporter

Undated photo of Benjamin Levin, a former deputy minister of education for Ontario and current University of Toronto professor, who has been charged with child porn offences.

FILE PHOTO

Undated photo of Benjamin Levin, a former deputy minister of education for Ontario and current University of Toronto professor, who has been charged with child porn offences.

 

After he was charged with two more child pornography offences on Wednesday, University of Toronto professorBenjamin Levin was granted bail set at $100,000.

Levin, 61, now faces seven counts of child exploitation, including charges of possessing and accessing child pornography that were filed in court Wednesday following a Monday raid on his north-end home.

Prominent criminal defence lawyer Clayton Ruby successfully argued for Levin’s release in front of a crowd of family members, including two brothers — who are acting as sureties — and his daughter. Levin’s wife is currently on a canoe trip, Ruby told reporters, but he would not say if she was aware of the charges or of Wednesday’s appearance, details of which were covered by a publication ban.

Premier Kathleen Wynne, on whose transition team Levin served, commented on his arrest for the first time Wednesday.

“I was shocked to hear about these charges through the news on Monday,” her statement said. “Insidious crimes like these are absolutely terrifying. The safety and well-being of our children has always been my absolute priority, and at no time did I have any suspicion of criminal behavior. I am confident that the police and judicial system will address these serious allegations.”

Ontario Court Justice Fergus ODonnell set out a long list of conditions Levin must follow upon release, which include residing with his elder brother unless Levin’s wife consents to him living at their Toronto home.

Levin, a tenured professor with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the U of T, was also ordered not to use the Internet, except at his work computer hardwired to the university’s network. He is not permitted to access social networking sites or use a phone with Internet access or photo-taking abilities. He is not allowed to leave Ontario except to visit his elderly father in Winnipeg, with itineraries provided to Toronto Police.

Outside the courthouse, Ruby spoke of his client’s status in the community — which included stints as the former deputy minister of education for the province and a member of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team.

“He is a man who has made enormous contributions to the educational system in this province, and indeed with changes that have been copied around the world,” Ruby said. “And I intend to work very hard to see that he shall be innocent.”

Levin was arrested following what police called a multijurisdictional investigation that spanned from New Zealand to England to London, Ont. In New Zealand, an undercover officer allegedly was passed “child abuse materials” by a suspect believed to be in Toronto, senior inspector Jon Peacock told the Star. The internal affairs department that deals with online child abuse sent that information to Toronto police.

Levin’s next court appearance is Aug. 8.

With files from Robert Benzie

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Toronto prof faces additional child pornography charges

CBC
The Canadian Press

Posted: Jul 10, 2013 2:16 PM ET

Last Updated: Jul 10, 2013 8:19 PM ET

A University of Toronto professor who once held the post of deputy education minister in Ontario and Manitoba was slapped with two new charges Wednesday in an ongoing child pornography investigation.

Benjamin Levin — who was also on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team as she took office earlier this year —now faces a total of seven charges.

The new charges were laid as the 61-year-old appeared in a Toronto court for a bail hearing Wednesday.

After a full day of arguments, Levin was granted bail, with a long list of conditions.

His lawyers have said Levin has his family’s support and plans to “vigorously” fight the allegations against him.

“The Crown’s position is that he should not have been released, he was released,” lawyer Clayton Ruby said outside the courthouse.

The latest charges against Levin are one count of possessing child pornography and one count of accessing child pornography.

“It’s a result of the evidence that was seized,” Det. Const. Janelle Blackadar told The Canadian Press.

“There was an initial forensics examination that was done on digital data.”

Levin was arrested on Monday and initially charged with two counts of distributing child pornography and one count each of making child pornography, counselling to commit an indictable offence and arrangement of a sexual offence against a child under 16.

The charge against Levin which deals with the making of child pornography is in relation to alleged “written texts,” said Blackadar.

“Written texts so to speak that is a graphic depiction of a sexual encounter between an adult and children,” she explained.

“The graphic depiction of that is consistent with the criminal code definition of child pornography.”

The investigation which led to Levin’s arrest began in the middle of last year.

Officials in Toronto were then contacted by authorities in New Zealand and later police in London, Ont., Blackadar said.

“We decided we would link our evidence together,” she said. “We’re still gathering some intelligence.”

The Ontario government has confirmed that Levin was a former adviser to the premier.

“I was shocked to hear about these charges through the news on Monday. Insidious crimes like these are absolutely terrifying,” Wynne said in a statement.

“The safety and well-being of our children has always been my absolute priority and at no time did I have any suspicion of criminal behaviour. I am confident that the police and judicial system will address these serious allegations.”

Levin was also recently involved with the Ontario government through contract research projects and guest speaking roles in his capacity as a professor — work that has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

From late 2004 to early 2007, Levin served under former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty as deputy minister of education.

He also served as Manitoba’s deputy minister of advanced education and deputy minister of education, training and youth between 1999 and 2002.

Most recently, he had been working as a professor and research chair in education and leadership at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Levin’s position as an academic involved in international projects raised concerns for police.

“Mr. Levin’s ability to travel and his frequency of travel, that always causes some concern for us,” said Blackadar.

“Being associated to education and so forth, one of the bigger priorities was did he have access to children? At this time it doesn’t appear that that is the case.”

Levin’s case returns to court Aug. 8.

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More child porn charges laid against Ontario’s former deputy education minister

The Calgary Herald

10 July 2013

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO – A man who once held the post of deputy education minister in Ontario and Manitoba is facing more charges in a child pornography investigation.

Benjamin Levin, who was also on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team as she took office earlier this year, is facing two new charges in addition to five laid on Monday.

The latest charges of possessing child pornography and accessing child pornography were laid as the 61-year-old appeared in court today for a bail hearing.

Levin, a University of Toronto professor, was arrested on Monday.

Toronto police say the investigation, which began a few months ago, is still ongoing and has involved authorities in London, Ont., and New Zealand.

Levin’s lawyer says he plans to “vigorously” fight the charges.

The Ontario government has confirmed that Levin served on the premier’s transition advisory team but hasn’t commented on the charges except to say that it takes allegations like those against Levin “extremely seriously.”

Levin served under former Premier Dalton McGuinty as deputy minister of education from late 2004 to early 2007.

He also served as Manitoba’s deputy minister of advanced education and deputy minister of education, training and youth between 1999 and 2002.

He has most recently been working as a professor and research chair in education and leadership at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

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Disturbing questions about sex education policy 

The Toronto Sun

FIRST POSTED: | UPDATED: 

christina-blizzard

BY  ,QMI AGENCY

 

Premier Kathleen Wynne
Premier Kathleen Wynne. (Toronto Sun files)

Word that University of Toronto professor Ben Levin had been arrested on child-pornography charges rocked Queen’s Park this week.

A highly respected educator and a former senior bureaucrat, Levin was a member of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team, a trusted and influential adviser.

I’m told Wynne is “shocked and upset” by the charges. Levin is charged with two counts of distributing child pornography and one count each of making child pornography, counselling to commit an indictable office and agreeing to or arranging for a sexual offence against a child under 16.

Levin walked with Wynne, former federal Liberal leader Bob Rae and current leader Justin Trudeau at the recent Gay Pride Parade, so this is a person with political connections.

It’s always difficult at times like this to draw conclusions. First, we must remember these are only charges; Levin’s been convicted of nothing. That’s up to a judge. But it does raise disturbing questions in general about the way education policy is formulated and who has input.

Remember the uproar in 2010 over the new sex-education curriculum? It was slammed — not just by the religious right, as some would have you believe, but by average parents — for being overly graphic in its nature and not age-appropriate. This curriculum was developed at a time when Levin was a deputy minister.

And, yes, thank you very much, I do understand that curriculum is developed in consultation with a number of groups.

Wynne’s office and the education ministry were quick to tell me Tuesday that police, mental-health agencies and others were all part of the development of the new curriculum.

I’m sure they all gave their input — as did groups such as Queer Nation. It’s also true, though, that the deputy minister would have input into which groups were “consulted.”

For anyone to suggest this was not a political process is nonsense. Who cancelled the new curriculum? It was former premier Dalton McGuinty, because parent outrage became a political liability for him.

Wynne was education minister at the time.

The curriculum aimed to teach 11-year-olds about oral and anal sex, and eight-year-olds about sexual orientation and identity.

One teacher “prompt” suggests how the teacher might discuss “erections, wet dreams and vaginal lubrication,” as normal things that happen with puberty. Ironically, we were told kids need to know this stuff at an early age “because they can find it on the Internet.”

The big question now is, who put it there?

After Laurel Broten took over at the helm of education, the sex-ed curriculum quietly died.

One of the first questions Wynne was asked the day after she won the Liberal leadership was when she’d bring it back. She’s under pressure from the gay community on that score. In an article in the gay newspaper Xtra in May, Nick Mule, chairperson of Queer Ontario, said, “This continues to be a concern for Queer Ontario.”

Wynne is vacationing at her cottage this week and while she issued a statement on Toronto’s storm, there’s been radio silence on Levin.

She needs to make a statement clearing the air. If this happened to a Tory government, the Liberals would be gloating, so it’s fair to hold the Liberals to the same standard.

Our children are our most precious people. When they are sexualized and desensitized at an early age — in this case, through a school curriculum — they become easy victims to those who’d prey on them. We have to be ever-vigilant about what they’re learning. That’s why parents remain the people best equipped to talk to them about sex.

[email protected]

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Former Wynne adviser , U of T prof Benjamin Levin facing child porn charges

thepost.on.ca

Monday, July 8, 2013 8:23:21 EDT PM

ANGELA HENNESSY, Toronto Sun

Police have charged a University of Toronto professor and a former member of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team with child pornography offences.

Benjamin Levin, 61, a tenured faculty member at the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), was arrested Monday after an investigation that went as far as England and New Zealand.

He is charged with two counts of child pornography distribution, and one count each of the making of child porn, counselling to commit an indictable offence and arrangement of a sexual offence against a child under 16.

Levin — a former deputy education minister in Manitoba — served as adviser to the Wynne government from January until June 12, 2013.

In a CP24 video from the recent PRIDE celebration, Levin is seen sitting beside federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Premier Kathleen Wynne and former federal Liberal interim leader Bob Rae.

Education Minister Liz Sandals said she was aware of the charges against Levin.

“He has been on contract research projects and guest speaking roles — work that has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation,” she said in a statement.

Teresa Pierra, president of the parent advocacy group — Parents As First Educators — added it “should be a surprise” that any deputy minister of eduction could allegedly be involved in the exploitation of of kids.

“Unfortunately, this comes as yet another sign that Wynne’s education ministry hasn’t shown the best judgment about children and education,” she said.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said the case “makes your heart stop. I wish the police every success in their investigation.”

Levin’s office at OISE became a crime scene. Students on campus were shocked by the development.

“It’s really scary to think of something like this happening here,” Jenna Bertuzzo said.

A student, who recently graduated from OISE with a bachelor of education, said news of Levin’s arrest was “devastating.

“Professor Levin has influenced my own teaching philosophies because his journals have been a big part of our program,” she said. “I’m feeling horrified and bitter about this.”

Police said they have seized Levin’s laptop.

Levin’s neighbours in the Lawrence Ave.-Avenue Rd. area also expressed shock and concern.

“I’ve lived on this street for four years. I’m surprised to hear anything like this has happened,” Levin’s neighbour, Toke Suyama, said. “He isn’t home a lot. I often see ladies coming and going and the airport limousine.”

The investigation continues.

1 Response to “Benjamin Levin granted $100,000 bail, charged with two more child porn offences” & related articles

  1. Carol Hryniuk-Adamov says:

    What is the current status of Dr. Levin. Has he gone to trial Why is there no update online regarding this case?
    Please advise.
    Thank-you.

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