WATCH: Long-time police officer says child pornography was an escape from his demons. Tess van Straaten reports.
A former Sidney/North Saanich RCMP officer learned his fate on Wednesday after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.
Dale Sheets was arrested in 2013 and charged with possessing and producing child pornography as well as several fire arms offences.
The investigation was launched after Sheet’s wife at the time became suspicious and wanted to know why he spending so much time on the computer.
She set up a hidden camera and keystroke logger and discovered he was taking images of naked children from the internet and manipulating them with a photoshop program to sexualize them.
“I think the judge indicated that it’s very difficult to have to watch this kind of material,” crown counsel Allan Mandell said outside the Western Communities Courthouse.
Sheets included himself in many of the more than 400 unique images he created but the details of what he did to those images are so graphic, we can’t report them.
“It is disturbing,” Mandell says. “I think just creating anything that involves children in a sexual way is a terrible thing and it’s hard on anybody who has to view any of these images.”
The hidden camera recorded video of Sheets, who was a respected RCMP officer at the time, pleasuring himself as he looked at the graphic images. But despite how disturbing the crime was, there were some mitigating factors.
PTSD a factor as ex-RCMP officer sentenced
Court heard Sheets was abused as a child and exposed to traumatic events as a police officer.
A psych report found he was a man in crisis at the time this occurred. He’s since been diagnosed with PTSD and the defense says Sheets is deeply ashamed and embarrassed about what he did.
Sheets also sought help and is considered a low risk to re-offed.
The judge took those factors into consideration and sentenced sheets to six months in jail, which is the mandatory minimum, and 18 months probation.
He was fined $200 for the firearms offences.