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But Bedford was not charged with sexual assault or sexual interference, a similar offence often used when the victims are minors. Germain, general counsel for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said such crimes could possibly be prosecuted under this country’s “invitation to sexual touching” law or even sexual interference.

The latter makes reference to touching “directly or indirectly,” she noted.

Though not in the Canadian cases, some were forced to involve other children or pets.

A rape conviction could send a message to the growing number of predators who might not have the nerve to assault a child in person, but are willing to victimize them in the digital world, said Wennerström.“It’s easy to cross the line, a lot easier than going to a playground and finding a victim,” she said.

In the trial now underway, the court agreed to let prosecutors present video of those interviews to save the victims having to appear in court, said the prosecutor.