A 26-year-old Thorsby man is in custody facing 20 child sexual exploitation-related charges after four boys, aged 12-14, alleged he sexually assaulted them between 2009 and 2013.
“Over the course of the last year-plus, we’ve become aware of several victims that have allegedly been the target of one particular offender,” said Sgt. Mike Lokken of the Northern Alberta Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit.
Thorsby RCMP were first alerted to the alleged incidents when a young boy came forward claiming to be a victim in July 2013.
A local farrier living near Warburg, about 90 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, was arrested and charged but released on conditions.
The man was re-arrested when a second victim came forward in January 2014 but was released again on conditions.
In May 2014, a third victim came forward and the man was arrested and put into custody by the ICE Unit. In August, a fourth victim came forward as well, while he was in custody.
“This case came as a result of four young, brave men coming forward and reporting these allegations to the police,” said Lokken, adding the repeat nature of the offences, which police believe to have taken place before the suspect’s first arrest, has prompted a call for any more people who believe to have been victimized to come forward.
The accused made part of his living as a farrier, hot-shoeing horses out of a mobile unit he built himself.
In an interview with Sun sister paper The County Market in 2011 about his farrier business, he claimed to be one of the few people in the province to provide the service and police believe he spent some time out of province.
“He has moved around Alberta and apparently he’s been to B.C. I’m not sure of the specifics of where in B.C. but there is a concern that there possibly could be more victims out there and we encourage them to come forward,” Lokken said, adding the man befriended families to access their children.
“One of the important things that the public needs to know is it wasn’t a random attack. It wasn’t a case of somebody just happening upon these young people and sexually assaulting them. He was known to the victims, he was known to their families and he was a part of their lives.”
Police say communication with kids is the most important thing for parents to do to avoid victimization.
Sean Hudson is facing five counts of sexual assault, four counts of sexual interference, five counts of child luring, one count of invitation to sexual touching and breaches of conditions.
Anyone with further information is encouraged to contact police or Crime Stoppers.