Quebec actor Paul Cagelet pled guilty to downloading tens of thousands of child pornography images, including babies and sadomasochistic staging.
“Yes,” said the small actor soberly when Judge Julie Riendeau asked him if he knew the facts well on Friday at the Montreal courthouse.
Cagelet, well known for his roles in the movie Matusalem and the series Cormorant had downloaded all the images and videos on a sharing site similar to YouTube, as mutually explained lawyers in court.
But the 52-year-old comedian had been spotted by an American organization fighting against the exploitation of children. He had been found, and his digital coordinates had been transmitted to the US authorities. Seeing that the suspect was in Canada, the file was sent to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and then to the Montreal police.
“The analysis of the computer equipment revealed that he had a lot of pictures, showing children, babies, to teenagers,” said Crown Attorney Anne Gauvin.
In total, the police found 38,104 photos, although more than half were duplicates. They also found 290 videos with 34 duplicates.
Several images and videos showed children 6 to 12 years old in sexual activities, alone or with adults.
Files showing babies or child pornography sadomasochistic represent only a minority of all that has been discovered in the computer equipment of Cagelet.
Back in court on Friday, Cagelet decided to cut the court process by pleading guilty to possession of child pornography, and to accessing this illicit material. The charge of distributing child pornography has been removed.
“This whole thing has shaken him, he bitterly regrets his actions,” said his lawyer Michael Morena.
Since her arrest, Cagelet has been undergoing therapy. But it will not escape the prison, since the minimum sentence for the charges is one year of incarceration.
Cagelet will return to the court in March, for pleadings on the sentence to impose.
In the meantime, he will have to meet experts who will draw his portrait, to help the court to impose an appropriate sentence.