Summerland lifeguard used spy cam to record boys for 10-15 years

Lifeguard's spy cam for boys

Warning: The contents of this story may be disturbing to some readers.

A longtime lifeguard at the Summerland Aquatic Centre used a camera to spy on young boys for up to 15 years before being caught with the help of a Staples employee, Penticton court heard Monday.

Edward Casavant, 55, appeared for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography, making child pornography, voyeurism and sexual exploitation of a person with a disability.

Crown and defence presented a joint submission, proposing a five-year federal jail term, but Judge Monica McParland reserved her decision for a later date.  

Crown prosecutor Dorothy Tsui said Casavant, also known as “Eddie Spaghetti,” purchased a computer from the Penticton Staples in November 2018. He took the store up on its offer to transfer all the data from his old computer to his newly purchased one. 

While a Staples employee was monitoring the transfer process, the employee spotted a file folder titled “Fun with Boys” that included thumbnails of what appeared to be child pornography. The police were called, who came and seized the devices. 

In the days after his computer was seized, Casavant admitted to a friend that he had sexually abused a boy with autism who he provided overnight respite care for between 2011 and 2014.

RCMP had previously investigated an allegation of sexual abuse from the boy’s mother involving Casavant in 2014, but the eight-year-old boy refused to admit anything happened when interviewed by police. 

Photos of the abuse were then found on Casavant’s computer when it was seized at Staples in 2018. At that point, the RCMP re-interviewed the boy, then 12, who confirmed the abuse occurred. Court stood down briefly to allow Judge McParland to view some of the material in her chamber, after which time she returned to the courtroom with a considerable amount of emotional strain on her face. 

Court heard Casavant also admitted to the same friend, who reported the conservation to the police, that he had used a “spy camera” attached to his clipboard to record underage boys in the locker room of the Summerland Aquatic Centre for 10 to 15 years.

He had been employed at the aquatic centre since 1986, quitting once the police investigation opened in 2018.

While Casavant was a licensed early childhood educator that provided respite care for numerous other families in Summerland, RCMP interviews with his previous clients uncovered no additional allegations. 

After a search warrant was executed of Casavant’s home, RCMP found 59 unique child porn images and 311 unique videos consisting of his abuse of the young boy with autism, voyeuristic shots from the aquatic centre and downloaded material. 

There was also some evidence that Casavant had been exchanging child porn with others via Skype. When police arrived at his home to execute the search warrant, one of Casavant’s hard drives was in the process of being wiped while others already had been. 

“I apologize without reservation for the harm both emotionally and physically caused to my victims,” Casavant said when given the chance to speak. “I wish I could go back in time and seek professional help that would have prevented me from acting out and doing the things I did.” 

Casavant’s lawyer Don Skogstad said his client was raised in an “abusive, alcoholic and dysfunctional” household. He lived with his parents his entire life, save for a brief time that he attended college, and never has had a sexual relationship with an adult.

As a closeted homosexual from a devout Catholic family, Skogstad said Casavant was never able to come out to his family. He had very few friends throughout his upbringing. 

“It’s true that he was comfortable with young people,” Skogstad said. “They didn’t judge him, he could play. In a sense, it was his childhood that he never had.”

Skogstad called the case a “house of cards,” and that the defence could have challenged the seizure of the laptop at Staples, as Casavant had specifically asked the store representative if his data would be viewed prior to handing it over. 

Skogstad said the police then took advantage of a broken civil contract between Casavant and Staples when they viewed the computer. Had the evidence seized at Staples been thrown out, most of the other charges could have collapsed. 

Crown prosecutor Tsui admitted it was a “live issue” and risk to their case had Casavant gone to trial. She said they also wanted to avoid having to put the boy with autism on the witness stand. 

Judge McParland reserved her decision for a later date. In Canada, judges must follow the joint submissions of Crown and defence unless the sentence “would be viewed by reasonable and informed persons as a breakdown in the proper functioning of the justice system.”

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