Volunteer hockey coach sentenced for making child pornography
Published Wednesday, February 26, 2014 6:10PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 26, 2014 6:12PM EST
Before his arrest in May of last year, James Alex Brunton led two lives.
Publicly, he was a devoted husband, a father and a volunteer hockey coach in Peterborough.
Privately, he was a child pornographer who secretly recorded videos and had a vulnerable teen send him naked pictures, which he then shared with "associates" in his secret sadomasochistic online community.
In January, Brunton pleaded guilty to several counts of making, possessing and distributing child pornography. His sentencing hearing happened in a downtown Toronto courtroom Wednesday.
Brunton's name first surfaced at a downtown Toronto Police station in November 2012. A special task force was underway looking into the mysterious disappearances of three men from the Church Street community.
Skanda Navaratnam, 40, was last seen Sept. 6, 2010, leaving Zippers nightclub. Abdulbasir Faizi, 44, was last seen at a Church St. bathhouse Dec. 29, 2010. And Majeed "Hamid" Kayhan, 59, was reported missing Oct. 14, 2012. He was known to frequent the Church St. nightclubs.
Police have never linked Brunton to the disappearances of the men, but it was amidst that investigation that his name surfaced in a tip to 51 Division.
As investigators dug into Brunton's lifestyle and seized computers from his Peterborough home, they found a collection of child pornography -- both pictures and videos -- that, court heard, would be considered quite small compared to many child pornography investigations.
Indeed, most of Brunton's pornographic collection consisted of adult pornography. Court heard that Brunton's collection of child pornography shows he was not interested in young boys, but those who looked like men.
Part of his collection consisted of videos he secretly recorded in the showers and change rooms of a Peterborough hockey arena, where 17-year-old boys walked around naked, court heard.
Those videos were recorded between 2003 and 2004.
But there was more to his collection.
Police found pictures and a couple short video clips of a teenager from Colorado.
Brunton met the teen in 2009 -- when the boy was 15 years old -- through what Crown attorney Mike Callaghan described as a "troubling cannibal fetish website."
Over the span of three years, Brunton sent the boy more than $3,500. In exchange, the boy sent him naked pictures of himself, often with violent undertones.
Over the next three years, the pair carried on a "very troubling, grooming relationship that was really based around a really sadomasochistic genre," Callaghan said.
The teen signed a contract, in which he agreed to come to Canada so Brunton could torture him, mutilate him and cannibalize him after he turned 18, court heard.
"I accept, the Crown can't prove otherwise, that it's fantasy. But it's a deeply troubling fantasyland," Callaghan said.
Brunton has been in custody since his arrest in May 2013. He never applied for bail.
Callaghan asked Justice Peter Harris to sentence Brunton to two years in jail less a day, plus three years probation. With credit for time already served in pretrial custody, Brunton would be released before the end of the year.
Defence lawyer Alison MacKay asked for pretrial custody, plus three years probation.
"When I first met Mr. Brunton, one of the first words to me was that he needed help," MacKay told court.
Referring to a psychiatric report, she described Brunton as a "troubled" man who was "unfortunately living a secret life, but is definitely one who can be rehabilitated and one that therapy will certainly be very effective."
Brunton suffers from diabetes, heart problems, sleep apnea and "low self-esteem," MacKay said.
He has a wife who is willing to continue their marriage in Peterborough and an adult daughter who lives in the United States, court heard.
"His wife has been coming to see him at the jail, so there's absolutely no secrets anymore between them and no secrets between him and his daughter," MacKay said.
Brunton is expected to be sentenced March 11.