Edmonton pediatrician Ghassan Al-Naami charged with child porn offences

WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton pediatrician is facing child pornography charges after being arrested earlier this week. Julia Wong reports.

Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams’ Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit has arrested and charged an Edmonton pediatrician with child pornography offences.

Ghassan Al-Naami, 47, was arrested on Sunday, Aug. 11 with the assistance of Leduc and Edmonton International Airport RCMP.

Al-Naami is charged with possession and transmission of child pornography.

ALERT said Al-Naami is a pediatrician in Edmonton but that investigators don’t have any evidence suggesting offences were committed against children under his care.

ALERT said the allegations against Al-Naami stem from child pornography that was allegedly uploaded online in April. The RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre notified ICE in July, and an investigation was launched.

Police said the video allegedly depicts a seven-year-old girl being sexually assaulted by a man; ALERT ICE unit acting Sgt. Dave Knight said there is no suggestion that the man is Al-Naami.

There was a two-month gap between when the video was allegedly uploaded and when ICE was alerted due to various steps that were taken to identify the suspect, including looking through police databases and getting judicial authorization.

Knight said Al-Naami was not known to police previously and there is no information to suggest there are any other incidents.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta was alerted after Al-Naami was arrested. Jessica McPhee, director of communications for the college, said Al-Naami has been licensed to practice in Alberta since 2012.

The doctor has been given up to four days to voluntarily withdraw from practice, according to McPhee. If he refuses, the college can impose a chaperone restriction for every patient he potentially sees.

Al-Naami is a pediatrician at the Bright Futures Clinic in Edmonton’s Norwood area. McPhee said Alnaami has not seen any patients since his arrest on Sunday. Staff at the clinic said it is closed until further notice.

His biography on the clinic’s website says he received his medical degree from the University of Jordan in 1996 and has worked in Saudi Arabia and the United States. It also says he was trained in pediatric cardiology and cardiac imaging at the University of Alberta and in Denver, Colo.

Al-Naami also holds a clinical lecturer position in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. However, the U of A said he is “not currently active in his volunteer teaching position.”

Al-Naami was released from custody on Monday on a number of conditions, including not to have any contact with anyone under the age of 16 and not to continue working in any job that involves being in a position of trust or authority towards people under the age of 16 years.

He will appear in court Sept. 5.

ALERT said ICE will continue its forensic analysis of computers and electronic devices seized from Al-Naami.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact police or submit information via cybertip.ca.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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