New details emerge as Riverview basketball coach faces new child pornography charges

·3 min read

New charges laid against a former Riverview basketball coach facing child pornography charges indicate there are at least 21 victims over a four-year period.

The 31 new charges were laid against Shawn Curtis Nickerson, 32, during a brief appearance by phone in Moncton provincial court on Tuesday.

Nickerson had already been facing 30 charges of child pornography, possessing child pornography, making videos and images of children, publishing child pornography and making recordings of children in circumstances where there's a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Nickerson is also facing a sexual assault charge involving a young person.

Crown prosecutor Malika Levesque told Judge Paul Duffie on Tuesday that the new charges will replace other charges but didn't ask for any older charges to be withdrawn yet.

Abel Le Bouthillier, a lawyer representing Nickerson, requested the judge adjourn the case until next week.

Nickerson is expected to return to court Feb. 2 for election, a step in the court process where someone decides if they want to be tried by a judge alone or by a jury.

Guy LeBlanc/Radio-Canada
Guy LeBlanc/Radio-Canada

The new charges are more specific than previous charges.

All of the charges allege Nickerson's crimes happened between June 2016 and Oct. 25 last year, when he was arrested.

While the earlier charges specified the alleged crimes occurred in Riverview, some of the new charges say Riverview "and at other places in New Brunswick."

A publication ban prohibits reporting anything that would identify the victims.

They are identified using sequential letters of the alphabet in court documents, from AA to AV, indicating police are aware of the identities of at least 21 victims. (H was skipped)

For example, one charge alleges that Nickerson made 12 videos of AA between June 20, 2016, and Oct. 25, 2020.

However, other charges are more general, such as one that alleges Nickerson made eight videos of unidentified persons over that same four-year period.

Another new charge alleges Nickerson made visual recordings of 11 unknown people in circumstances where there's a reasonable expectation of privacy.

In a news release in November, RCMP said the force was working to identify victims.

"We know that this individual worked as a coach for various age groups over a number of years, both within and outside of the school system," Const. Hans Ouellette, a spokesperson for the force, said in the statement.

Ouellette would only say on Tuesday after the latest charges were laid that the investigation is still going on.

An RCMP news release about Nickerson's arrest says the New Brunswick RCMP's internet child exploitation unit began investigating in August 2020 based on information received by the RCMP's National Child Exploitation Crime Centre.

A search warrant executed Oct. 25 at Nickerson's Riverview home led to police seizing "a variety of electronic devices."

The Anglophone East School District sent a message to parents following Nickerson's arrest saying he volunteered at several Riverview schools. The message said the district will continue to co-operate with the RCMP investigation.

Nickerson was charged with sexual assault in December. The alleged assault occurred in Riverview between Dec. 25, 2018, and June 15, 2019. A publication ban has been imposed on the identity of the victim. At the time, RCMP indicated that charge isn't related to Nickerson's other charges.