Former Edmonton teacher charged with child luring, child pornography

ALERT ICE investigators have arrested and charged an Edmonton teacher with child luring, child porn offences. (CBC - image credit)
ALERT ICE investigators have arrested and charged an Edmonton teacher with child luring, child porn offences. (CBC - image credit)

A former Edmonton public school teacher who worked with children with autism is facing child luring and child pornography charges.

Brennan Gorman, 27, was arrested at his home in St. Albert on Saturday, the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) announced Thursday.

Gorman faces one charge of luring and three child pornography charges in connection to alleged offences against a Parkland County girl who is younger than 16.

ALERT's Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit began investigating Gorman in March in relation to the Parkland County case, Sgt. Kerry Shima, acting commander for ICE's northern Alberta unit, said.

"The complaint itself was that Mr. Gorman had identified himself as a teacher to his victim, and had proceeded to gain her trust, build a relationship, and ultimately the allegation is that he procured sexualized images and video from her," Shima said.

On Saturday, ICE received a tip from the West Palm Bay County Sheriff's office in Florida that American investigators believed Gorman was involved in or knew about the disappearance of a missing Florida girl.

"We resourced the investigation very heavily up here and went and located him and arrested him on our charges, with the primary intention of trying to locate the child and learn where she might have gone or where he might be," Shima said.

The missing girl was later found safe in Florida. ALERT said it turned out that Gorman was not directly involved in her disappearance, but that additional child luring and child pornography charges are pending in connection to his online interactions with that youth.

ALERT said Gorman was employed as a teacher and most recently worked at Balwin School, a public K-9 school in northeast Edmonton, where he taught children with autism spectrum disorders. He also worked at Belmead School in 2022 and Good Shepherd Catholic Elementary School in 2022.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Edmonton Public Schools said they're aware of the charges against a "former staff member" and "This person is no longer employed with Edmonton Public Schools."

The spokesperson added that their Critical Incident Support Services (CISS) team, made up of trained social workers and psychologists, will be helping students, staff and families as needed.

Investigators said Gorman also worked at several local daycares, including:

  • Little Learners Fort Road, in Edmonton in 2021.

  • Little Learners St. Albert, in St. Albert in 2021.

  • Klarvatten Plaza Daycare, in Edmonton, 2019-2020.

  • Richard Secord Out of School Care, in Edmonton in 2018-2019.

  • Discoveryland Childcare & OSC, in Edmonton in 2018.

The news release said both the Edmonton Public School Board and the daycares are co-operating with the police investigation.

No charges have been laid in relation to Gorman's work at any of the schools or daycares.

'Resources in place' to help children

Investigators allege Gorman may have been using the alias "Steve" and that he was identifying himself to youth as a teacher.

Police believe there may be additional victims in the Edmonton area, but Shima urges parents not to panic.

"Some of our preliminary investigation leads us to believe that that's the case. I can't get into all the details just yet because we have to shore up some information and make sure we're on the right path before we start reaching out to people," Shima said.

"I don't want to have widespread panic or people thinking that their child is automatically a victim because they went to one of the schools or the daycares he was employed at. By and large, teachers are very, very trustworthy people and very good people."

Nora Nadifi, whose children attend Balwin School, said it's concerning that Gorman worked with children with disabilities.

"When we're talking about children with special needs, they cannot verbally communicate like I am doing with you right now," she said outside the school on Thursday.

Shima said authorities are equipped to help children if required.

"We have specialized interviewers and specialized people, for example at the Zebra Centre, who will work with any victims that there might be," he said.

"Of course, we're hoping that there's none ... but in the event that there [are] victims at the school then we have resources in place and the right people in the right places to support those kids."

Gorman was released from custody and was ordered to follow a number of court-ordered conditions, including not maintaining employment that would put him in a position of trust over or authority over a youth, and not to attend any schools.

His next court appearance is scheduled for June 5 in St. Albert.