Canadian education researcher and former ministry official Ben Levin has been arrested for multiple counts of creating and distributing child pornography, according to a briefing from the child exploitation section of the Toronto Police Service’s Sex Crimes Unit.
Levin, 61, a professor of education leadership and policy at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, was arrested at his home in Toronto early this morning, after what police called an “online, multi-jurisdictional, child-exploitation investigation,” which spanned from Canada to the United Kingdom to New Zealand. Levin has been charged with several counts around making child pornography—including a charge called “agreement or arrangement, sexual offense against a child under 16" as well as two counts of distributing child pornography. He has been remanded until July 10 for bail, according to Jennifer Pagliaro of the Toronto Star, who was covering the bail hearing today via Twitter. He is being represented by Gerald Chan of Ruby, Shiller, Chan, Hasan Barristers of Toronto.
The charges are sure to come as a shock to the education world, where Levin has been renowned for his research on education equity and policy and for being a prolific advocate for national standards and for support for teacher and principal quality. A former deputy minister of Canada’s Manitoba and Ontario provinces, Levin has also published more than 300 articles and eight books on subjects from urban education to improving graduation rates.
Neither Levin nor the University of Toronto have responded to requests for comment, but Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals, in a statement, called the charges “very serious allegations” and said Levin has been suspended from all his Ministry-contracted OISE-related research projects and guest-speaking roles pending the results of the police investigation.
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A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.