An Edmonton teacher has been arrested and charged with child luring and making, transmitting and possessing child pornography after Florida police shared a tip with the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams.
The law enforcement agency was already investigating the accused in relation to sex offences he allegedly committed against a female youth in Parkland County, when it was contacted by police south of the border.
Brennan Gorman, 27, was arrested by RCMP last weekend at his home in St. Albert.
“ICE (internet child exploitation unit) was actively targeting Gorman as the suspect in the Parkland County case when they received a tip from the West Palm Bay County Sheriff’s Office in Florida,” ALERT said in a Thursday news release.
Authorities in Florida were investigating Gorman in connection with the disappearance of a female youth. Florida police believed that he might be involved or have information about her disappearance.
The Florida girl has been found and police no longer believe Gorman was involved in the disappearance.
However, child luring and child pornography charges are pending for interactions he is accused of having with the Florida youth online.
“A lot of our investigations cross the border and we also involve the authorities of jurisdiction in the United States quite regularly,” said Sgt. Kerry Shima, acting commander for the Northern Alberta ICE unit.
Gorman has been employed at the following locations:
- Balwin Junior High
- Belmead School (2022)
- Good Shepherd School (2020)
- Little Learners Fort Road daycare (2021)
- Little Learners St. Albert daycare (2021)
- Klarvatten Plaza Daycare, Edmonton (2019-2020)
- Richard Secord Out of School Care, Edmonton (2018 -2019)
- Discoveryland Childcare and Out of School Care, Edmonton (2018)
At his most recent position, at Balwin Junior High, he was tasked with teaching kids on the autism spectrum.
“Kids with the autism spectrum disorders often times are non-verbal, have different behavioural concerns and have special needs requirements which don’t always translate into the best reporting circumstances if something is going wrong.
“Being in a position of authority and a position of trust over some of these kids who are higher need is definitely concerning to the police and should be to the public,” added Shima.
Gorman may have used an alias, ‘Steve,’ online while talking with youth but police alleged he had been identifying himself as a teacher to the victims.
Shima said, “Saying you’re a teacher – from our perspective is an effort or might be a mechanism to lower the guard of some of the victims or some of the people he’s communicating with online.”
Gorman has been released from custody under a number of court-ordered conditions including that he cannot work in a position that gives him authority or trust over youth and he must not attend any schools.
“He was taken into custody arrested and … he was not cooperative during our questioning and that is his right – do we like that, no but he’s entitled not to speak to the police.
“We don’t agree with the release, but we respect the decisions of the court. Obviously, we have concerns about his past behaviour and we still have work to do. He targeted a vulnerable community and, like I said, we don’t agree with the release – however we do respect the court’s decision,” Shima commented.
He is scheduled to appear in court on June 5.
Edmonton Public Schools confirmed Gorman is no longer employed by the division and said they are taking the charges and investigation very seriously.
“Ensuring students are safe while in our care is a responsibility we take very seriously; student safety is a top priority,” added Edmonton Public Schools.
Gorman worked in the school this school year, but an official termination date has not been released.
Edmonton Catholic School said the accused was never an employee of the district, but when he was still a University of Alberta student teacher was placed at Good Shepherd for nine weeks, from October to December 2020.
ICE believes there may be more victims in the Edmonton area.
“That person has been putting themselves in very target-rich environments; if we are dealing with offences against children, that’s our major concern right now. There are going to be a lot of potential victims – not saying that he’s necessarily offended on any students at all – but provided the charges I think it’s fair to make that connection. We need to really focus on the kids he’s been involved with to ensure we aren’t missing any of those victims if there were any,” said Shima.
If anyone has any information regarding Gorman, they are encouraged to contact police at the non-emergency line, a local RCMP detachment or anonymously at Cybertip.ca.
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