Darren Philpott – Pedophile kills himself – Continues to harm victims from beyond the grave

“Darren Philpott hung himself, but there’s millions of Darren Philpotts in our world still. There’s tons,” Michelle said. “Darren’s just one of many.”

“This is how I see it. When I capture their image – I capture a piece of time that not even there own mommy’s will have. They stay young forever, just for us pedos . . . The vid cam makes them our eternal slaves. They becum our property to do whatever we want too.” – written in a chat message by Darren Philpott/canuckboylover

In many ways, it began as a familiar story: A wolf in sheep’s clothing. A beloved member of the community exposed as a pedophile and predator.

But when police officers followed an electronic trail into Darren Philpott’s basement suite in northwest Regina last fall, they discovered something far larger than they could possibly have imagined: more than three million pornographic images involving hundreds – even thousands – of child victims, and deep connections to the trade of child pornography around the world.

But Philpott was not just a collector. Some of the images show him sexually abusing children. Videos he made show young children naked, filmed without their knowledge in the locker rooms of swimming pools in Regina, and at Philpott’s home.

It’s been called the biggest child-exploitation investigation in Saskatchewan, and its scope may make history nationwide by the time the case is finally completed. Internationally, Interpol, the FBI and the United States Department of Homeland Security are all involved in various aspects of the investigation.

Within weeks of Philpott’s arrest on child pornography charges in October 2007, the popular youth mentor, minister, Big Brother and coach faced new charges for sexually abusing children. Months later, more charges were laid for child sexual abuse, voyeurism and making and sharing child pornography, and Philpott was expecting still more charges. Sources say the 38-year-old was considering a plea deal for life in prison.

Instead, Philpott chose death. He hanged himself inside a shower room at the Regina Correctional Centre two months ago.

Philpott’s charges were unceremoniously stayed in court a few days after his death, and the Crown’s file is now formally closed.

But it is not over.

At Regina’s Integrated Child Exploitation Unit, police investigators continue to work hard on the case, and will likely be doing so for many years. Officers continue to painstakingly examine each photo and video in Philpott’s collection, trying to identify more of Philpott’s victims, looking for locations, other offenders, and clues that may be of use in the ongoing fight against child sexual abuse around the globe.

Many of children hurt by Philpott continue to be affected by his actions, not only because they were sexually abused by a mentor and friend, but because graphic evidence of that abuse continues to circulate around the world.

Pornographic images of children from Regina already have been found in the course of other investigations outside the country, and more pictures and videos undoubtedly continue to move through the Internet. Many child victims – and their parents – don’t even know the images are out there.

But Philpott had plenty of opportunities to put his collection together. He spent months, sometimes years, building up trust with young people and their families, and the extent to which he manipulated his child victims may never be known.

Some he coerced. Others appear to have been threatened, even drugged.

“Mr. Philpott placed himself in every aspect of the community, into every organization or environment where children were involved,” said Crown prosecutor Loreley Berra at Philpott’s bail hearing.

By 2007, Philpott had been involved with the Big Brother organization for 25 years, starting out as a Little Brother in Winnipeg when he was 13, then moving on to be a Big Brother throughout his adult life. He slipped through screening that included multiple reference and character checks, a criminal record search, interviews with case workers, and informal monitoring.

For Laura (not her real name), whose son was sexually assaulted by Philpott just over a year ago, the horror she has experienced did not end with Philpott’s death.

“I’m glad he’s dead, but I also don’t think he suffered enough,” she said. “He’s just ruined so many kids’ and families’ lives. It doesn’t just destroy a child, it destroys a whole family.”

A video of her seven-year-old boy has already been found during a child pornography investigation in California, and Laura says she’s received strange phone calls from men in the United States.

Michelle (not her real name), too, finds limited comfort in the fact that Philpott is no longer a physical threat to her family.

Her son is still struggling with being molested by his former mentor and friend, and the boy is deeply angry that he was fooled by someone he trusted. “Darren Philpott hung himself, but there’s millions of Darren Philpotts in our world still. There’s tons,” Michelle said. “Darren’s just one of many.”

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