On July 14, 2021, Saskatchewan Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE) and the Maidstone RCMP executed a search warrant at a residence on 1st Avenue East in Marshall, SK, after receiving a report from an online application that child pornography videos were uploaded on their platform.
It was determined that a home-based day care was operating at this residence. Investigators alerted the Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of Education the same day, July 14, 2021, regarding our investigation into the matter.
At the residence, investigators found two cellphones and two laptops. The devices were provided to investigators, who forensically examined them. During this complex investigation, which included multiple specialized RCMP units, investigators located images of unknown children being sexually assaulted by a male.
The Ministry of Education suspended the daycare licence on July 16, 2021, and advised all parents of the change.
As a result of this ongoing investigation, on September 21, 2021, Joseph Sproull (DOB: 1980-11-06) of Marshall, SK, was arrested and charged with:
- 1 count, Possession of child pornography, Section 163.1(4), Criminal Code;
- 1 count, Distribution of child pornography, Section 163.1(3), Criminal Code;
- 3 counts, Sexual assault, Section 271, Criminal Code;
- 3 counts, Sexual interference, Section 151, Criminal Code;
- 3 counts, Making available child pornography, Section 163.1(2), Criminal Code.
Joseph Sproull was residing in the house where the home-based daycare was operating. He has been remanded in custody and will make his first court appearance on September 22, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. at the North Battleford Provincial Court.
Investigators are working to identify the children in the images. They are meeting with the parents of the children who attended the daycare. Support, including victim services, is being offered to all individuals affected by these incidents.
The investigation continues. At the present time, investigators believe 3 children were being assaulted in these photographs. The victims are all young children. The Saskatchewan RCMP will not release publically the specific age of the victims to protect their identity.
“This is an alarming, heartbreaking situation that affects the most vulnerable – young children. We are doing everything in our power to identity all the victims affected by this terrible situation and provide everyone the support they need right now,” says Superintendent Vincent Foy, Officer in charge of the Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crime Unit. “I can only imagine the anguish those affected are going through and the anxiety the whole community is facing. Rest assured all required resources are being dedicated to this investigation.”
North Battleford RCMP General Investigation Section (GIS) has taken carriage of the sexual assault investigation with the assistance of Saskatchewan ICE, Maidstone RCMP, RCMP National Victim Identification Unit, North Battleford RCMP Forensic Identification Unit and the Midwest Victim Services Program. Part of this work will be determining if there are more victims.
Anyone who suspects they or their child has been a victim, or has information about these incidents, is asked to call North Battleford RCMP Provincial General Investigation Section at 306-446-1615. Anyone who requires support during this investigation is asked to contact the Midwest Victim Services Program at 780-874-5021.
As this matter is under investigation and charges are currently before the court, no further details can be released at this time.