A former Edmonton group home worker has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for a series of “abhorrent” sex crimes involving two youth who were in his care. On Friday, 41-year-old Samer Temraz pleaded guilty to six child exploitation offences — including sexual interference and making and distributing child pornography.
The offences — the oldest of which occurred in 2008 — involved two victims who were children at the time and lived at group homes where Temraz worked. Temraz admitted to making 144 pornographic videos of one 11-year-old victim when the child lived at the privately run group home. Temraz was investigated by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams’ child exploitation unit after police learned an IP address at the group home was being used to upload child pornography.
During a sentencing hearing Friday — which media attended by teleconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic — Crown prosecutor Parm Johal called Temraz’s crimes “abhorrent,” saying they were doubly disturbing because he “preyed” upon children who had been removed from their previous homes after suffering abuse. “These were children who were taken out of their homes to protect them,” said Johal, who was visibly emotional.
“How absolutely gut-wrenching.”
Temraz appeared from remand by CCTV. An agreed statement of facts states he started working as a youth support worker at one home in 2010, and that he was a “well-liked” worker “who was trusted by the youth residents.” The home provided shelter and care for vulnerable children in the guardianship of Alberta Child and Family Services. Prior to that, Temraz worked at another group home where the first victim lived. (The victims’ identities are protected by a publication ban).
Court heard three victim impact statements, including from the younger boy’s case worker. “He will struggle for the rest of his life,” said the woman, accusing Temraz of a “disgusting, filthy abuse of power and authority.”
“You betrayed his trust and took advantage of him.”
One of the boys’ mother also attempted to read a victim impact statement but became enraged, flinging the paper and storming out of the courtroom. Crown and defence settled on a joint sentencing submission of 12 years. Defence lawyer Kent Teskey said that one of the only mitigating factors that worked in Temraz’s favour was his early guilty plea, which saved the children from having to testify.
He added his client has faced “vigilante acts” while in jail, and that his family has suffered threats and other forms of “blow back” as a result of their relative’s crimes. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Little, who accepted the 12-year sentence, told Temraz that it was “difficult to comprehend the magnitude of your abuse.”
Temraz has been in jail since his arrest in November 2018. He has accrued 25-months credit for time in pre-trial custody, which will be credited toward his sentence.
Published On: April 18, 2020