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Former youth worker on trial

Former Athabasca youth worker Jason Andrew Keough went to trial in Edmonton’s Court of Queen’s Bench last week on charges related to child pornography, voyeurism and sexual touching.

Former Athabasca youth worker Jason Andrew Keough went to trial in Edmonton’s Court of Queen’s Bench last week on charges related to child pornography, voyeurism and sexual touching.

Keough, 36, has pleaded not guilty to all seven charges against him, including two counts of making child pornography, two counts of possessing child pornography, one count of voyeurism, one count of making voyeuristic material, and one count of sexually touching a youth.

The charges are based on incidents alleged to have occurred between 2005 and 2008, during which time Keough worked at the Athabasca Native Friendship Centre, Edwin Parr Composite School, and later Alberta Children and Youth Services’ Athabasca office.

In her opening presentation last Monday, Crown prosecutor Diane Hollinshead told Justice Donald Manderscheid that Keough talked to teenage boys about paying them to film themselves performing sexual acts, “asking them if they want to be porn stars.”

That led in some cases to boys filming sexual encounters with underage girlfriends, Hollinshead alleged.

Athabasca RCMP executed a search warrant on Keough’s Athabasca home in September 2008, seizing several videotapes.

In testimony presented Monday, a 19-year-old man testified that when Keough was his social worker in 2008, he repeatedly asked him if he was gay. He testified that Keough also sexually touched him though his pants during an outing from a youth assessment centre.

Tuesday’s testimony included allegations that Keough provided a friend with video cameras to make a sex tape with his underage girlfriend, then kept the tape after the friend asked that he destroy it.

The man, now 23, testified that he met Keough in 2005 at the Athabasca Native Friendship Centre, where Keough was a youth coordinator. He said they became friends and starting meeting at Keough’s house, sometimes drinking beer.

The man testified that making the sex tape was his own idea, that his girlfriend consented, and that Keough provided him with two video cameras.

He said he later gave the tape to Keough and asked him to destroy it. A few weeks later, when his girlfriend asked to destroy the tape herself, Keough said he had lost it, the man claimed.

Athabasca RCMP Const. Tom Meloche testified that the tape was among those seized in the September 2008 search.

The man also testified that Keough had discussed pornography before, suggesting that if the man were to make a sample video, it could be marketed in the U.S.

The woman depicted in the video, now 20, was on the witness stand Friday, crying as she watched the video and gave her testimony. She said she was told the tape had been destroyed.

Also during Tuesday’s court proceedings, Meloche testified that one of the tapes seized from Keough’s home contains footage of Keough positioning a video camera and covering it with clothing. Later in the video, two people are filmed having sex in the room.

In Wednesday’s court proceedings, a Nova Scotia man testified that in 2006, when he was 20, Keough invited him and his girlfriend, then 16, to move to Athabasca to live with him in his trailer.

The man testified that Keough repeatedly pestered him to film himself masturbating, but he refused. Police eventually seized a video depicting the act, which the man suggested in court must have been made with a hidden camera.

The man also testified that after pestering and threatening from Keough, he and his girlfriend filmed themselves having sex, thinking the video was for their personal use. But the man said Keough kept the video, “forced” the couple to watch it and critiqued their performance.

Later, when Keough moved into an apartment, the man said he was invited to move in with him. But his girlfriend wasn’t, the man testified, because she refused to make any more sex tapes.

He alleged that Keough would occasionally allow her to stay the night if the couple agreed to film themselves having sex, and threatened to put her in foster care if they didn’t make more tapes.

The man testified that the couple made a total of seven or eight tapes.

They asked Keough for the tapes before they moved back to Nova Scotia in 2007, but alleged that Keough told them the tapes had been destroyed.

The tapes were also among those seized when RCMP searched Keough’s home in 2008.

On Thursday, an Athabasca man testified that Keough paid him $200 for a videotape of himself having sex with a woman who allegedly didn’t know she was being filmed.

The man, 23, testified that he met Keough while he was a student at Edwin Parr Composite School and Keough was employed a guidance counsellor. The two began a friendship that continued after he graduated, and the man said Keough often talked to him about becoming a porn star, and offered him money if he made a sex tape.

The man testified that when he was 21, he had sex with an 18-year-old woman in Keough’s apartment, recorded by a hidden camera that the man said the woman wasn’t aware of.

He said Keough paid him $200 for the video two weeks later.

The video was also seized during the RCMP search.

In cross-examination, Keough’s lawyer suggested to the man that he concocted the story of being paid for the video, to avoid being charged with voyeurism himself. The man denied that allegation.

The woman depicted in that video, now 21, also testified on Friday, and also wept as she watched the video in court.

She said she had no idea she was being recorded.

She also testified that after learning about the video from police, she contacted her former boyfriend through Facebook. He claimed he hadn’t known of the camera.

Keough’s trial is scheduled to resume Nov. 22.

The identities of civilian witnesses are protected by a court-ordered publication ban.