University professor Benjamin Levin suspended following child pornography charges

Ontario's Department of Education distanced itself on Monday from a former deputy minister charged with making and distributing child pornography.

Toronto police have charged Benjamin Levin following an investigation that involved the London Police Service and authorities in New Zealand.

Levin is a professor and the Canada Research Chair in Education Leadership and Policy at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, who served as Ontario’s deputy education minister between 2004 and 2007. He also served similar roles in Manitoba between 1999 and 2002.

According to the Canadian Press, Levin recently served as part of Kathleen Wynne’s transition team when she moved from MPP to the Premier's Office after she was chosen to replace outgoing Dalton McGuinty earlier this year.

Wynne's office said the transition team last met in early June.

[ Related: Member of premier's transition team faces child porn charges ]

Education Minister Liz Sandals released a statement saying the Government of Ontario took the allegations "extremely seriously," and that Levin would be suspended from various roles with the government during the investigation.

The statement reads:

Dr. Levin's only recent involvement with the Ministry has been on contract research projects and guest speaking roles through his capacity as a professor at OISE, work that has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

As these allegations are currently before the courts and the subject of an ongoing police investigation -- the integrity of which must be protected -- it would be inappropriate for the ministry to comment at this time.

Levin, 61, has been charged with two counts of distributing child pornography, one count of making child pornography, counselling to commit and indictable offence and agreeing or arranging a sexual offence against a child under 16.

When announcing the charges, Toronto police thanked New Zealand's Censorship and Electronic Messaging Compliance Unit for assisting in the investigation.

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