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'Santa' guilty in child-porn case 0

TRACY MCLAUGHLIN, SPECIAL TO THE EXAMINER

A Barrie man who loved to pose as Santa Claus pleaded guilty to the possession of 90,000 images of child pornography, yesterday.

Standing in the prisoners' box in handcuffs with a white beard and long white hair, Daniel Walter Gyselinck, 59, quietly said "guilty" to possession of child-porn images along with more than 1,000 video clips of child porn. He also pleaded guilty to making the images available to the public and to downloading the images and movies from his computer onto personal CDs and DVDs.

Court heard police came to his apartment door with a search warrant last June after they noticed an IP computer address with a large collection of child porn in a shared folder.

Inside his apartment, police found much more material as well as an unusual collection of festive decorations, even though it was the middle of June.

A police videotape played in court showed Gyselinck's apart-m

ent shelves cluttered with Christmas trinkets, stuffed toys, gingerbread houses, a Christmas tree and a Santa suit.

In his bathroom hung a Harry Potter shower curtain and a towel cabinet door was covered in red Christmas wrapping.

During the arrest, Gyselinck told police he spends his entire paycheque purchasing the trinkets and stuffed toys.

Court heard Gyselinck admit-t

ed to police that when he entered his apartment, he became caught up with viewing child porn.

"When I sit at my computer, I slip into this dark side," he told police. "I don't know why I do it."

Court heard he also told police that he often masturbated as he watched the child porn.

"I'm only human," he told police.

Gyselinck also told police that it was easy to download any type of child porn he wanted off of Limewire.

"Why doesn't the government stop making it so easily available?" he asked police.

In court, police also played a sampling of the thousands of images and videos they seized. Several show clips of adult men raping a small child. Several of the images were of a single child.

Outside of court, a woman who worked at a local restaurant where Gyselinck was employed as a dishwasher said she had come to court on all of Gyselinck's 33 appearances since his arrest to find out what the charges were about.

"I always had a feeling something was wrong," said the woman, who asked only to be named as Betty. "I think he really thought he was Santa, the way he strutted around. He always told the kiddies he was watching them."

She said Gyselinck would often come to work wearing a Christmas tie and Christmas hat, even though it was summer. And after the Santa Claus parade in Barrie last November, she said he came to work still dressed in a Santa suit.

"He strutted around her for hours," she said. "It's creepy."

A pre-sentence report was ordered and Gyselinck will be back in court for sentencing May 21.


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