UPDATED WITH NEW COURT DATE: Woodstock Army Cadet civilian volunteer charged with child luring

by | Dec 28, 2023

Regional Headquarters for Cadets investigating why man wasn’t immediately removed from duties

By Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, and Theresa Blackburn

A 19-year-old Woodstock man charged with child luring to create child pornography was still working with cadets nearly two weeks after his first court appearance.

Jason Kuhndel is a civilian volunteer with #318 Woodstock Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corp. On Nov. 7, Fredericton Police charged him with making sexually explicit material available to a minor to create child pornography and luring a minor online to commit a child pornography offence. The two offences allegedly occurred in Fredericton between Jan. 1 and March 30 of this year. A publication ban protects the victim’s identity.

On Dec. 6, Kuhndel’s lawyer, Patrick Hurley, appeared in Fredericton Provincial Court on his behalf and asked the judge for an adjournment while he waited for disclosure documents from the Crown.

When reached by the River Valley Sun on Dec. 18, the Commanding Officer for the #318 Cadet Corp, Alicea Richards, directed all questions to the Regional Cadet Support Unit, a Canadian Forces division responsible for the cadet program in Atlantic Canada.

Jordan Elliot is the unit’s Public Affairs Officer.

“He (Kuhndel) was removed from his duties as soon as we were notified,” she said from Halifax.

When asked when her office was notified, Elliot said Richards notified them of the situation on Dec. 18, after the River Valley Sun made inquiries.

“The timing of this is extremely concerning, and we are tracking that separately,” added Elliot, noting her unit is now investigating the delay.

Major Victor Belleville is the Officer Commanding, responsible for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island cadets.

“The protection, safety and welfare of cadets are always our first priority,” he explained from his office at Base Gagetown.

Maj. Belleville noted that all adults in direct contact with cadets, including civilian volunteers, must follow a code of conduct and undergo various screening levels, including police record checks and vulnerable sector screening, before employment. Volunteers also need to renew those checks every five years.

“It is the individual’s responsibility to notify their Chain of Command of any criminal charges laid against them. The delay in the unit staff and the headquarters being notified is concerning. We will be reviewing our reporting procedures and timelines with our cadet corps and squadron staff and volunteers to limit the potential of delays of this nature happening again in the future.”

Kuhndel was scheduled to return to Fredericton Provincial Court on Dec. 27, but his lawyer, Patrick Hurley, appeared again on his behalf. He told the court he needed more time to review disclosure documents. Kuhndel is now scheduled to appear in Fredericton Provincial Court to enter a plea on Jan. 18 at 9:30 a.m.

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