An Alberta man became the first person in Canada to be charged with allegedly molesting a child in a live Internet broadcast.
Cory Lee Nelson, 36, appeared in court on Tuesday and was charged with five counts, including transmitting child pornography and sexual assault related to an April 3 Internet broadcast of a man molesting a young girl.
"This is extremely unusual, this case," prosecutor Steven Bilodeau told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "This is the first where the allegations are that a child was being molested live on the Internet."
"When you see child pornography on the Internet, you have to remember this is a child being sexually abused and that abuse is being photographed," Bilodeau said.
Nelson was arrested after police received a tip from a woman in Missouri on April 4 who witnessed the broadcast on a computer at the home of an acquaintance, police said.
The American woman provided police in western Canada with enough details to locate the suspect and place him at the scene of the crime in Calgary when the alleged offense took place. Officials from the US Department of Homeland Security were also involved in the case.
Meanwhile, Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler promised tougher sentences for child pornographers in proposed legislation.
"This is a very good bill for all those who care, and should care, about protecting children against child pornographers," he told reporters outside the House of Commons on Tuesday.
The proposed legislation increases maximum sentences from six to 18 months in jail and broadens the definition of child porn to include published stories and audio recordings. It would also prohibit child porn advertising.
Nelson is currently free on C$2,000 (US$1,600) bail, although his computer has been seized by police. He will return to court on July 5 to enter a plea.