Former child protection officer convicted of receiving and possessing child pornography.

communiqué

On March 25, a U.S. federal jury convicted Mr. Jean Buteau Remarque of two counts of receiving child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Mr. Buteau Remarque has worked with our organisation in the past and it is with shock, anger and outrage that we learn about his conviction. The IBCR, as an organisation fighting for the rights of the child, condemns these unspeakable acts in the strongest possible terms.

Mr. Buteau Remarque was recruited by the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR) as a coordinator for a project to strengthen the child protection system in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015. At the end of his probationary period, the IBCR decided to terminate his contract due to issues of collaboration within his functions.

While the recruitment process had been conducted in a rigorous manner, including criminal background checks and references, there was no indication that he would commit a crime. Almost a year after his departure, the IBCR was called as a witness in the federal authorities’ investigation of Mr. Buteau Remarque, in which we cooperated fully and unreservedly. It is of course unthinkable for our organisation that such acts could go unpunished, and these accusations have offended our deepest values. The fact that Mr. Buteau Remarque did not come into direct contact with children in the course of his activities was certainly a relief, but it does not detract from the ignominy of these acts that have gone unpunished for too long.

Cases of child pornography and sexual violence against children are increasingly being reported around the world and must never go unreported.

While the IBCR already has a child protection policy, guidelines on child participation in its work, a complaints committee and background check processes for all hires, this crisis will push us to continue to strengthen our internal actions and processes. It is our responsibility to ensure that our hiring, training, monitoring, supervision and communication with our staff identify risks and take the necessary steps to minimise them. Similarly, it is important that the complaint mechanisms in place are known to everyone so that anyone with suspicions can share them to get to the bottom of them.

The case was initiated as part of Project Safe Childhood, an initiative launched in May 2006 by the US Department of Justice to combat the growth in child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood mobilises federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

We are extremely grateful for these initiatives that help expose, prevent and prosecute criminals who harm children.

Read the press release