Editor’s note: The following article contains graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.
It’s possible an “entire generation” of Summerland boys was surreptitiously recorded in the nude at the community’s pool over a 10- to 15-year period, a judge said Monday before passing sentence on the former lifeguard who created the videos.
Edward Casavant, 55, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, making child pornography, voyeurism and sexual exploitation of a person with a disability, and was sentenced to six years in prison.
With enhanced credit for time served, Casavant, who retired from his job at the Summerland Aquatic Centre in 2018, has five years remaining on his sentence.
Provincial court Judge Monica McParland said 30 of the 275 child porn videos found in Casavant’s possession had been shot in the pool’s change rooms while Casavant, who preferred the nickname “Eddie Spaghetti,” was a swimming instructor. Most of the videos, which were shot with a spy camera attached to a clipboard, depicted fully nude boys under the age of 12.
McParland cited Casavant’s “significant position of trust,” combined with the lengthy period of time covered by the videos, which captured “dozens” of children, as an aggravating factor.
“Because the voyeurism went on for some 10 to 15 years, very likely an entire generation of children was potentially exposed to this activity, and even the anxiety of knowing that a child took swimming lessons and was potentially a victim will have impact on many local families,” said McParland.
Those videos are now sealed and families of kids depicted in them will not be notified.
“I am told that this decision was made in order to spare the victims,” said McParland.
She noted the other videos in Casavant’s possession featured kids as young as eight weeks old and depicted bestiality, bondage and orgies. The “most chilling and offensive” video, the judge added, was one in which Casavant digitally penetrated a boy who was asleep.
That boy, court heard previously, was sexually abused by Casavant over a two-year period beginning in 2011 while Casavant provided overnight respite care.
Court heard the boy’s mom went to the RCMP in 2014 with suspicions about Casavant, but the boy, who is autistic and has other development challenges, didn’t disclose anything untoward when interviewed by police, so the case was closed.
It was reopened in 2018 after a technician at Staples in Penticton found child pornography on Casavant’s computer, which was turned over to police.
Police reinterviewed the boy, who was then 12, and the boy detailed some of his sexual interactions with Casavant.
The judge cited as a mitigating factor Casavant’s guilty pleas, which spared the boy from having to testify, an ordeal she said would have exacerbated the “devastating and enduring impact” the offences will have on him.
As part of the plea bargain, Crown and defence lawyers in December put forward a joint recommendation of a five-year prison sentence. However, the judge balked at that, and the term was upped to six years.
McParland noted judges may only vary from joint submissions, which are prized mainly because they save court resources, if following such an agreement would undermine the public’s confidence in the justice system.
Once he’s released from prison, Casavant, who was described by his lawyer as having a troubled childhood that made it easier for him to connect with children than adults, will be banned for 10 years from visiting any pools, parks, schools or other places where kids under the age of 16 may be present.
He’ll also be banned for the same period from holding any paid or volunteer positions that put him in a position of trust over kids under 16, and will have to comply with the Sex Offender Information Registry Act for the rest of his life.