Sudbury man tried to arrange sex online with a girl

However, he was actually talking to an undercover police officer

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A Greater Sudbury man who attempted to arrange sex online with a 14-year-old girl didn’t know he was talking to an undercover police officer.


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John Taggart was then arrested as part of a province-wide child pornography sting in late 2018.

In Sudbury court, Justice Andrew Buttazzoni sentenced Taggart, 47, to house arrest for five months, as well as probation.

Taggart pleaded guilty on July 27 in the Ontario Court of Justice to performing an indecent act with the intent to offend and making an indecent communication.

As a result of the sentencing, the Crown dropped other charges Taggart was facing.

The Crown and defence lawyer Michael Lacy of Toronto suggested the conditional sentence and the 18-month probation order.

On Dec. 5, 2018, Taggart was one of two Greater Sudbury males (the other was a 17-year-old who could not be named) who were among 122 people across Ontario charged with a total of 551 offences as part of a province-wide crackdown on child exploitation by the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police partners.

Police also identified 55 victims.

The Greater Sudbury arrests were made by members of the Greater Sudbury Police Cyber Crime Unit, which executed four search warrants at separate residences.

Over in North Bay, two men were arrested. In Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie, both adult men and youth were charged.

At the time, Taggart was charged with luring, indecent exposure, making an arrangement to commit a sexual offence, and making explicit material available to a person under 16.

When Taggart entered his guilty pleas, he was facing seven charges that had grown to include possession of child pornography and two counts of exposure to a person under 16 years.


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In his sentencing decision, Buttazzoni noted that the Crown, in its sentencing submission, wanted strong restrictions in place for Taggart during his conditional sentence and probation period.

As a result, Taggart can only access the internet at work or under the supervision of an adult and he cannot be alone with anyone under the age of 18 unless an adult is present.

Lacy told the court that when Taggart was charged, he lost his job in the mining sector, has not found new work since, and has had to live at his parents’ residence. He also said Taggart did not have a prior record.

“He led a pro-social life except for these offences,” Justice Buttazzoni noted. “His spouse still supports him, but the charges have strained the marriage and the family unit. There have been lost friendships and embarrassment in the community due to the charges.”

Buttazzoni said that what Taggart did was serious.

“In this case, Mr, Taggart was attempting to arrange for a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old female,” he said. “Fortunately, his communication was with an undercover officer.”

Buttazzoni said the fact that Taggart is consenting to a probation condition that he take such counselling as recommended by his conditional sentence supervisor/probation officer is a good sign.

“This will be an important step with his rehabilitation and ensure the public is protected,” said the judge.

As for having internet access, Buttazzoni said if Taggart received an actual jail sentence, he would not have such access. However, the judge said since Taggart was to serve a house arrest sentence followed by a lengthy probation order, he should have some internet access to get on with his life.


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“The internet is inexorably woven into many aspects of our life,” said the judge. “This is a modern reality. The internet is in computers, cellphones, cars, airplanes, and the list goes on …

“The internet has become a hub for every kind of human activity including education and communication. It is a large window on the world. It has become a place where everybody can do everything one wants to do.”

Buttazzoni said he concluded Taggart should have access to the internet via a computer or smartphone, but there should be restrictions on that use, such as for work purposes. It should also involve adult supervision, and that he was not to delete his browsing, texts, and other histories with such devices. That way, a police officer or conditional sentence supervisor/probation officer could review that history to ensure nothing improper was happening.

The lengthy list of internet restrictions Taggart must abide by during his house arrest and probation period include access only from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., no accessing or sharing child pornography, that a detailed log history of his internet access on devices be maintained, and that he provide passwords to a police officer or sentence supervisor to check internet activity.

Buttazzoni said while Taggart was not to be alone with anyone under the age of 18 without an adult present during the house arrest and probation period, he could be reunited with his children.

“There is no evidence Mr. Taggart has ever acted inappropriately in any way in the presence of children,” said the judge. “In my view, an essential part of his rehabilitation will involve having the family unit back together.”


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The judge, however, rejected a request by Lacy that Taggart be allowed to walk his children to and from school each day, calling it “a step I’m unprepared to take.”

The Crown had opposed the request, noting Taggart had yet to start any counselling and he would be in the presence of countless children around the school site.

Buttazzoni also said that while the sentence being proposed by the Crown and Lacy “is at the low end of the scale,” it was a proper one. He also said had the case gone to trial, there would have been significant legal issues and that a defence application under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was likely.

The probation order includes conditions that Taggart take recommended counselling and programs, and also not be in a job or be in a position of authority or trust involving children under the age of 18.

Buttazzoni did not impose any ancillary orders, such as providing a DNA sample or that Taggart be listed on the national sex offenders’ registry.

Twitter: @HaroldCarmichae

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