WARNING: The following article contains graphic content that some readers may find disturbing.
A Nevis man was arrested last Wednesday, Oct. 12, in Byemoor on charges of child exploitation, cruelty to animals, and various firearms offences.
Cris Marshall, 25, was arrested by the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) team with the assistance of the Stettler RCMP detachment on Wednesday at a home in the hamlet of Byemoor.
Marshall has been charged with three counts of careless storage of a firearm, and one count each of cruelty to animals, making bestiality, accessing child exploitation materials, possessing child exploitation materials, making available child exploitation materials, making child pornography and possession of a prohibited weapon. Police have asked the court to order a psychiatric evaluation.
The investigation was opened after Marshall allegedly uploaded “child sexual exploitation material via a social media account,” investigators said in a press release. According to ICE team Insp. Dave Dubnyck, the content uploaded to social media appeared to be a “narrative being typed,” and that the images alleged to have been posted with the content appear to be scavenged from the Internet, and does not involve local children.
Police seized electronic storage devices from the home and said that as the investigation progresses, if that changes, the public would be informed.
“A significant amount of child sexual exploitation material and offences involving his pet dog” were found, according to Dubnyk. The dog was seized and brought to the Calgary SPCA, and has been since fostered out for care.
The animal cruelty charges stem from a video involving the accused’s pet dog, according to Dubnyk. The charge “making bestiality” refers to “any kind of sexual activity involving an animal.”
“It is very unusual,” Dubnyk said. “I’ve been policing for nearly 27 years and this is the first time I’ve been this close to an investigation involving bestiality.”
Vigilante justice can never be condoned
Despite the shocking revelations behind the charges laid against Marshall, Dubnyk cautioned people to give the accused his day in court and not take “justice into their own hands.”
“Please let the police do their investigation,” he said. “Vigilante justice can never be condoned.”
Dubnyk said there is no indication individuals with whom Marshall was residing in Byemoor were involved in illegal activities, and asked people to not target their frustrations or fears with the situation on those remaining in the community.