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Hamilton man charged in child pornography case with victims in U.S. and Nova Scotia

Police say two children are safe after a child pornography investigation that began in small county in Kansas and ended in Hamilton with the arrest of a 23-year-old man.

Police allege the man met two young women online and coerced them into sharing explicit photos of young children, including a teen in Kansas who recorded her two-year-old niece and a woman in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia who recorded her 13-month-old son.

Joshua Bryk, of Hamilton, is facing seven charges, including accessing child pornography and two counts each of arrangement to commit a sexual offence against a child, possession of child pornography and making child pornography.

The investigation began last April when a teen at a high school in Wabaunsee County, Kansas told a school resource officer about getting involved with something inappropriate , said Det. Const. Adam Baglieri, of the Hamilton police internet child exploitation (ICE) unit. She met a guy named “Josh” online and over a series of conversations on the social media platform Snapchat, he began pressuring her to take pictures of her young niece, who she babysat.

He promised payment and then began demanding more images by a particular deadline. She sent the initial images of her niece, but came forward to police before the deadline for more pictures of other children.

That’s when Det. Eric Kirsch, of the Wabaunsee County Sheriff’s Office, became involved. The experienced investigator gathered information and took control of the girl’s Snapchat account and went undercover messaging “Josh.”

“Det. Kirsch is clearly a seasoned investigator and very smart,” Baglieri said. “He got the suspect to quasi identify himself.”

This included getting the suspect to send a picture of his truck that showed a licence plate. Once police in Kansas had a good idea the accused was in Hamilton, police here were contacted. Baglieri began working with Kirsch on the case.

Bryk’s name was already familiar to Hamilton ICE unit detectives. He had been given a police caution around December 2020 after police were notified about a concerning image on his computer.

In May, police searched Bryk’s Hamilton home, where he lived with his parents, and seized multiple devices. He was arrested. A preliminary search of one of the devices revealed the images from the Kansas teen, police allege.

The 23-year-old’s case remains before the courts.

Meanwhile in Kansas, Kirsch continued to investigate and was granted access to Snapchat records. Going through thousands of messages on what police allege is Bryk’s account, police said they found the second victim in Nova Scotia.

Baglieri contacted RCMP who acted quickly. The mother in that case was also charged sexual assault and child pornography offences. She has already been convicted of some offences and is expected to be sentenced next month.

Hamilton police Deputy Chief Ryan Diodati sent a letter commending Kirsch on his “exceptional commitment” in the case. That letter was shared on the sheriff’s office Facebook, where it was picked up by local media.

The primary goal of the ICE unit to help protect children. But often detectives don’t know the identities of the children captured in the pictures and videos.

In about 99 per cent of the cases detectives don’t know if the image is new or old or if the child is safe, Baglieri said. In this case, police in Nova Scotia removed the child from his mother’s care. And in Kansas, police spoke with the toddler’s parents about what happened — the child does not live with the high school student.

“It’s very rewarding,” Baglieri said, knowing that the two children are safe because of the police investigation.

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