A Delta, B.C., teacher has been charged with possession of child pornography, according to Surrey RCMP.
Surrey resident Elazar Reshef, 52, was charged with three counts of child pornography-related offences on Thursday.
Surrey RCMP's Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE) launched an investigation in March 2019 after an electronic service provider filed a tip to a U.S.-based non-profit organization alleging that an account user was in possession of child pornography.
"We received notification from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children," said Cpl. Joanie Sidhu with Surrey RCMP.
"They have connections with companies that notify them, and then they will look into which jurisdiction is accessing the alleged child pornographic images," she said.
Police say Reshef has been in direct contact with children during his work as a teacher in the Delta School District, but no Metro Vancouver children have been identified as potential victims.
An email sent Friday to parents from the principal of Gray Elementary School identified Reshef as one of its teachers. Principal Patrick Klassen says the Delta School District learned he was being investigated by police in July 2019 and "took immediate action to remove him from any interactions with children within the school district." "There are no indications that any students within the Delta School District or any other local children have been at risk or harmed by this situation," reads the email. According to Klassen, Reshef has not worked at the school or been permitted on district property since. He adds that the district could not share information with parents until now because of the police investigation. "Cases such as this, which are thankfully very rare, are deeply disturbing and upsetting," Klassen wrote in the email.
The Delta School District said the safety and wellbeing of its students is of paramount concern.
"Upon hearing that Mr. Reshef was being investigated by the police we took immediate action to remove him from any interactions with students within the school district," said Cathryn Tucker, communications manager with the district.
Investigators have been in touch with Reshef's lawyer and are making arrangements for him to turn himself in, Sidhu said.
Police say they are releasing this information in the interest of public safety, and to further the investigation are asking anyone with information to contact ICE investigators at 604-599-0502.
"This team of trained investigators is dedicated to protecting children from harm and vigorously pursuing those who access, distribute, or create child pornography," Sidhu said.
Supports for families
In a second email sent to parents Friday afternoon, Klassen provided a list of resources for families needing support in the wake of the news of Reshef's charges.
"Through these programs and places like Delta Assist, they will be able to help you confidently broach this subject if need be and guide you to supports for your children, should you feel it necessary."
He says families can contact Kelty Mental Health at B.C. Children's Hospital, Kids Help Phone, Fraser Health Mental Wellness Information for School Aged Children, the Fraser Health Crisis Line or the 310 Mental Health Support provincial crisis line.