Education Department employee facing child porn charge

Keith Oqallak, 32, charged with possession of child pornography on July 7

RCMP in Iqaluit charged Keith Oqallak, 32, with possession of child pornography on July 7. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 1. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

An employee of Nunavut’s Department of Education has been charged with possession of child pornography, which RCMP in Iqaluit allege was found on his cellphone.

Keith Oqallak, 32, was charged July 7, according to police information filed in the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Nunatsiaq News received an anonymous tip on Aug. 26 that a staff member of the department had been charged over the summer, but it took two weeks to get confirmation of who was charged or the circumstances of offence.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Pauline Melanson confirmed on Aug. 27 police had laid a child pornography charge but didn’t disclose the man’s name until Sept. 14. When Nunatsiaq News asked in an email about the name of the Department of Education employee charged with child pornography possession, she provided Oqallak’s name.

On Aug. 27, Department of Education spokesperson Troy Rhoades confirmed one of its employees had been charged with a criminal offence and suspended from work pending an investigation, but he did not say what position the employee held.

The Education Department took “immediate steps” to protect student safety while observing the rights of its employee, Rhoades said, without specifying what steps were taken.

He added the department had no information about whether the employee conducted the alleged criminal activity in a classroom or used Government of Nunavut electronic equipment.

The Education Department has not identified Oqallak as the employee it referred to in August as having been charged with a crime. Nor has it answered any other questions about the nature of the charge its employee is facing.

Oqallak was scheduled to appear in in Iqaluit court on Sept. 27, but the matter was adjourned to Nov. 1.

 

 

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