Toronto police officer of the year cracked five-decade-old sex abuse case.

By: Staff Torstar News Service Published on Wed Jun 05 2013

A Toronto police detective who helped solve a more than five-decade-old child sex abuse case was named the city's top officer at an awards ceremony Wednesday night.

Det. Const. Joel Manherz was awarded the honour at the Toronto Region Board of Trade's 46th annual ceremony for Police Officer of the Year after helping track 42 victims worldwide and putting one man in jail in the cold case.

“I couldn't be more honoured ,” Manherz told media after accepting his award to a standing ovation of commanders, fellow officers and business leaders.

After a Dutch investigation began in the 1960s, Manherz, who is assigned to the child exploitation section, began reexamining the case in 2008 — looking through several photographs of child pornography taken at nudist camps.

Manherz was able to identify one of the victims, then 43, through one of those photos, who led him to eight more — forming the basis for a search warrant at the suspect's Toronto home.

There, police recovered the largest cache of self-made images in Canadian history.

In 2010, Julian Mardon, then 75, was arrested and charged with assault and indecency. He is currently facing an eight-and-a-half-year sentence with the possibility of more charges in the U.K. where he formerly lived.

“It is difficult,” Manherz said of examining sexually compromising photos of child victims day after day. He's spent more than five years with sex crimes and 13 years on the force.

But solving a case makes the long hours worthwhile, he said. “It is certainly the most rewarding emotionally.”

The victims spanned in age from 10 to 18 years old at the time of the offences, which took place between the 1960s and the mid-1990s.

“They put on their brave face,” Manherz said of their willingness to provide statements and assist police with evidence in an otherwise stagnant case.

“I still have a lot of time to spend on it,” Manherz said. He recently shipped pounds of evidence to investigators in the UK.

A total of 26 officers were nominated for the award Wednesday.

“As a group, they symbolize policing at its best,” said Toronto Police Services Board chair Alok Mukherjee .

The winner was selected by a committee of media judges.

Notre site