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Five Simcoe County residents charged in child exploitation probe

More than 100 people charged, 428 charges laid as part of Project Maverick
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Five Simcoe County residents are among more than 100 people charged in a child exploitation investigation.

Project Maverick, which was completed in October, was an effort by 27 policing partners. It included 255 investigations and saw police undertake 168 search warrants, leading to the seizure of 1,032 devices.

As a result, 428 charges were laid against 107 people.

Mark Richardson, 42, of Barrie, has been charged with possession of child pornography, making child pornography available, and accessing child pornography.

Thomas Higgins, 61, of Beeton, has been charged with luring a person younger than 16.

Police have not released the names of the other three Simcoe County residents charged. They are a 49-year-old Collingwood man (three counts of invitation to sexual touching), a 54-year-old Barrie man (two counts of possession of child pornography) and a 28-year-old Victoria Harbour man (three counts of luring a person younger than 16).

During Project Maverick, 61 victims were identified and another 60 children were “safeguarded,” an OPP news release stated. There are 175 investigations ongoing and additional charges might be laid.

Those with information about child exploitation are asked to contact their local police service or call 911.

Tips on how to keep kids safe from these types of crimes can be found on the Canadian Centre for Child Protection website or at