Thunder Bay man facing more charges in child pornography investigation

·2 min read

THUNDER BAY — A Thunder Bay man initially arrested last summer for charges relating to possession of child pornography is facing further charges.

Mark Philip Lehtonen appeared in a Thunder Bay virtual courtroom on Monday, March 29, where his lawyer, George Joseph, requested another court date due to further charges being laid against his client late last week.

Court documents show Thunder Bay police charged Lehtonen with a total of 15 offences which were sworn on March 26. The offences allegedly took place on March 1, 2019.

The charges include five counts of publishing an intimate image and 10 counts of failing to comply with a court order.

In June 2020, city police charged Lehtonen after a search warrant was executed in the 400-block of Rupert Street after officers had received information regarding suspicious online posts by a local internet user. He was charged with one count of breaching a prohibition order that required him to not access a computer with Internet and one count of possession of child pornography.

In July 2020, Lehtonen was arrested again after officers executed another search warrant at a residence in Shuniah. He was further charged with accessing child pornography, breaching a prohibition order in relation to children and failing to comply with judicial release.

In August 2020, Lehtonen was denied bail and has been in custody since.

According to police, Lehtonen was previously employed as a childhood educator in Thunder Bay. A decision published in 2016 by the College of Early Childhood Educators discipline committee stated Lehtonen's certificate of registration was revoked and he was permanently refrained from reapplying or seeking certification with the college.

There is a publication ban in effect on any information that could identify any victims.

Lehtonen is scheduled to appear in court next on April 15 for all of his charges.

Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source