West Van private school counsellor charged with possessing child porn

Counsellor child porn charge

A West Vancouver private school counsellor is facing a charge of possession of child pornography.

A charge was sworn against 53-year-old Luke Lawson of West Vancouver on Tuesday.

According to the West Vancouver Police Department, Lawson was arrested Sept. 23, 2020 after police received information that he was in possession of child pornography.

He was released under conditions not to attend any location where children under the age of 16 are likely to be, including parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, and elementary schools.

Lawson was a university counsellor at Mulgrave, according to information available online, and had been with the school since 2002.

The charge sworn Tuesday comes after a “lengthy and technical investigation” by WVPD's major investigations team, said Const. Kevin Goodmurphy, spokesman for the department.

According to court records, Lawson is charged with possessing child pornography between May 29, 2020 and Sept. 24, 2020 in West Vancouver.

“We understand that this will be alarming news for the community," said Goodmurphy. "We want to reassure parents and students that the West Vancouver Police treat offences against children with utmost seriousness and that where evidence exists, we will aggressively pursue charges.”

Goodmurphy declined to give further information about the investigation.

“From the get-go obviously we were looking into whether or not these circumstances would have posed a further threat to the community at large,” he said. That led investigators to “conduct a very thorough threat assessment,” said Goodmurphy, which concluded “there was no immediate threat to anybody.”

In a letter sent to Mulgrave parents Monday night, head of school John Wray wrote, “there is no suggestion that this has involved any Mulgrave students, either current or past.”

Wray said Lawson was immediately suspended after his arrest.

“We know this topic is deeply unsettling,” wrote Wray, adding counselling has been made available to students and staff at Mulgrave.

In December, a staff member at Lynnmour Elementary School in North Vancouver was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into possession of child pornography. That staff member did not work directly with students and no longer works for the school district. No charges have been laid in that case, according to North Vancouver RCMP.

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