Sunday, 31 May 2009

Director of B'nai Brith facing child-porn charges

Bill Surkis, a prominent member of Montreal's Jewish community, was led to court in handcuffs Friday to face two charges related to accessing and possessing child pornography.

Surkis, 69, is the former Quebec Regional Director of B'nai Brith Canada, a Jewish advocacy group. He also worked in the education sector for 47 years, serving as academic dean at John Abbott College for more than two decades.

He was released on bail, on a number of conditions that restrict his access to children and the Internet.

Virus check on computer revealed pornographic material

The child pornography was allegedly discovered after Surkis took his computer to a store to be checked out for viruses.

"It was the people at the computer store who noticed these images on his computer," said CTV Montreal's Rob Lurie, reporting live from the Montreal courthouse.

"We're talking about 23 videos, allegedly of child pornography, found on the hard drive of his computer," Lurie added.

The employees at the computer notified police of the suspicious material.

Surkis turned himself in on Thursday, and spent the night in jail.

Reaction

Surkis spoke briefly to reporters Friday afternoon before leaving the Montreal courthouse.

"They're serious charges. We're looking into them. My lawyer's working with me. We're coming back to court on September 24th and we'll proceed from there."

Surkis said members of the Jewish community will be disappointed by the news of the charges against him, but said he remains hopeful that he will maintain his reputation.

"They know me as a staunch individual, they know that I've stood for what is right. I continue to stand for what is right. That's why we're doing the things that we're doing so that we can clear my name."

When Surkis was asked how the pornographic material ended up on his hard drive, his lawyer, Steven Slimovitch, intervened.

"Look, I think that's something that we can discuss when the time comes...it's not a question of denying...it's a question of looking at what is it we're talking about, looking at everything, and dealing with everything," said Slimovitch.

"We're not hiding. We voluntarily went to the police station yesterday. We are fully cooperating with the police. We've accepted the conditions that the crown prosecution has put (in place) and we're taking the matter very, very seriously," he added.


http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090529/mtl_surkis_child_porn_charges_090529/20090529?hub=MontrealHome

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