Man charged with making death threats against father of Rehtaeh Parsons

Police in Halifax have charged a young man accused of making death threats against the father of Rehtaeh Parsons.

Police won't disclose the name of the alleged victim or of the 19-year-old accused, who has yet to appear in court.

But Parsons' father, Glen Canning, said Saturday the charges relate to online threats made against him last year.

Canning also said police told him the accused is one of two teens facing child pornography-related charges in connection with his daughter's case.

"They called me on Thursday night and mentioned that charges were filed in relation to the online threats that I had received," Canning said in an interview.

Canning's daughter, Rehtaeh Parsons, was taken off life-support last April after attempting suicide in her Halifax home. Her family says the 17-year-old was relentlessly tormented after a photograph of her allegedly being sexually assaulted in November 2011 was passed around her school.

Two teens face charges of distributing child pornography in connection with the case, while one of them also faces a charge of making child pornography. They cannot be named because they were under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged offences and both are charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Scott MacRae said police began investigating the alleged death threats last Aug. 2 after receiving a complaint from a 49-year-old man.

"It did take until April of this year to move the investigation along," he said. "There are means to eventually determine the ownership of the computer or possibility of who made the threats, albeit a complex process."

MacRae said police executed a search warrant at a home in the suburb of Eastern Passage and seized a computer and electronic storage devices. A 19-year-old man was arrested at the home Thursday.

He is due in court May 20 on charges including uttering death threats and criminal harassment.

Canning, who has been an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual assault and cyberbullying, said he and his family have been the targets of online harassment since his daughter's death.

But Canning said some comments went too far and that's when he contacted police.

"I believe they were just threatening to kill me if I didn't shut up," he said.

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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