York University researcher charged in child porn network commits suicide

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Winnipeg Free Press

Published Friday December 10th, 2010

Pat Hewitt, The Canadian Press

TORONTO – A York University research fellow who killed himself after being charged with child pornography offences likely couldn’t live with his tarnished image, a colleague says.

Police said Richard Dyde committed suicide Thursday at age 47 — one day after his arrest was made public.

Stephane Rainville, a neuroscientist and consultant in Ottawa, said he had known Dyde since 2002. He was shocked to hear about Dyde’s death and the charges he was facing.

“He had a fairly high public profile. He was involved in experiments that were sent to the International Space Station,” Rainville said in a telephone interview on Friday.

Dyde was a dynamic, social person with many friends who was very gregarious, he said.

News made public that he had been arrested on charges of making, possessing and making child pornography available would likely have been too much to bear, said Rainville.

“I can’t imagine he could have, I guess, lived with it. It would have been devastating to his social circle.”

Rainville said the allegations against Dyde, whom he’d attended several conferences with, don’t jibe at all with the witty, engaging man he knew who enjoyed playing volleyball on the beach.

Born in England, Dyde, who was married, came to Canada in 2001. He was part of a York University research team designing experiments for NASA to explore the effect of zero gravity on astronauts in space.

Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk conducted one of the experiments devised by the York University team that included Dyde during his six-month stay on the space station in 2009, according to the Canadian Space Agency website.

Police announced on Wednesday that Dyde was among 57 men charged in connection with an international child pornography network.

York University spokesman Alex Bilyk said Dyde had been on leave from his job at the Toronto-based university since his arrest.

Police have said hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of child pornography images were traded by the network in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Dyde also authored a biography about British inventor George Cayley called “The Man Who Discovered Flight: George Cayley and the First Airplane.”

Dyde’s brother and father both served as Royal Air Force pilots. Dyde also worked as a systems analyst at the British Library in England for several years. He later completed a PhD in the field of cognitive neuroscience.

The probe into the child pornography network began more than a year ago in Conception Bay South, N.L., when authorities found Anglican priest Robin Barrett trading child abuse images and videos online.

Barrett, 51, was convicted of possession and distribution of child pornography and received a 2 1/2-year sentence in September.

Police said 25 children victimized by the network were rescued, including a dozen in Canada, during the year-long investigation known as Project Sanctuary.

Those arrested included 25 Canadians, 26 Americans and six Europeans. Together, the 57 men faced 218 charges.

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York University researcher charged in child porn probe dies 

thestar.com

Published On Thu Dec 9 2010

Richard Dyde, a York University researcher, died a day after he was charged in an international child porn probe.

Carys Mills Staff Reporter

The day after Richard Dyde’s charges in an international child porn probe were made public the York University researcher died, a university spokesperson said Thursday.

“I don’t know of the cause of death,” said Alex Bilyk.

Dyde and a York residence don were among the GTA men charged in the investigation, dubbed Project Sanctuary, which started with the arrest of a priest in Newfoundland last December.

Police had intercepted child pornography images and the investigation spread to include 13 police departments in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Dyde, 47, was charged with two counts of making child pornography available, possession of child pornography and making child pornography.

Reached on Thursday night, Const. Tony Vella said no information about the cause of death was available.

Both Dyde and the don charged were put on leave following their charges so they could “concentrate on their defence,” Bilyk said.

“A person is innocent until proven guilty,” he said of the “very serious crimes.”

Bilyk said he was unaware of how Dyde was dealing with publicity surrounding his charges.

According to York’s website, Dyde had completed a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. At York he was researching the perception of orientation and gravity.

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