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Burnaby man sentenced for thousands of child sex abuse images

Michael Grondines, 40, was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography in August 2020 after a three-year police investigation.
vancouver provincial court criminal
Vancouver provincial court

A Burnaby man has been sentenced to eight months’ jail and 18 months of probation for possessing between 2,000 and 2,500 child sexual abuse images on multiple electronic devices.

Michael Grondines, 40, was charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography in August 2020.

He was in Vancouver provincial court for sentencing Friday after pleading guilty to the possession charge in June.

In a joint sentencing submission Crown prosecutor Joseph Zondervan and defence lawyer Mark Swartz both called for an eight-month jail sentence and 18 months of probation.

B.C. provincial court Judge Andrea Brownstone agreed.  

As aggravating factors she noted the size of Grondines’ collection of child sex abuse images and the nature of the photos and videos, which she described as on the “high end of gravity” involving “some children who would be considered babies.”

“Every single one of those children is a victim and they become revictimized every time the pornography is accessed,” Brownstone said.

As mitigating factors, Brownstone noted Grondines didn’t have a criminal record, he had pleaded guilty, he had not breached his bail conditions and he was willing to take sex offender counselling.

But Brownstone said she had some concern about Grondines’ lack of insight into his wrong-doing.

According to a pre-sentencing report, he had said he was really interested in adult websites and that the child pornography charges “made him sick to his stomach and he’s not actively interested in it.”

“However, he has acknowledged that he did hold that collection as described in the agreed admissions of fact,” Brownstone said.

On probation, Grondines, a former farm worker and logger, will be banned from contact with children under the age of 16 and from public places where they might be.

He’ll also be banned from dating, living with or marrying anyone with kids under the age of 16.

Grondines also won’t be allowed to access the internet or possess any device capable of accessing it, and he will be on the national sex offender registry for 20 years.

According to police, the investigation into Grondines dated back to September 2017, when police were contacted by the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, an American non-profit dedicated to preventing child sexual exploitation.

The organization alerted the RCMP to images and videos of child sexual abuse that had been uploaded by an individual in Burnaby, according to a Burnaby RCMP news release in September 2020.

Throughout 2018 and 2019, police investigated a number of similar reports allegedly linked to the same individual, according to the release.

Investigators eventually identified a suspect living at a residence in Burnaby.

They would go on to execute two search warrants on Grondines and seize multiple devices storing child sex abuse images.

The distribution of child pornography charge against him was stayed at the end of his sentencing hearing.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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