A former Grand Forks Aquatic Centre lifeguard was sentenced to a six-month conditional sentence of house arrest on Sept. 9, after having been found guilty on one count of possession of child pornography. After that sentence is served, Cees Vanderniet, 59, will have another 24 months of probation.
Vanderniet was charged with one count of possession and one count of importing/distributing child pornography last March, though he was only convicted of the former charge.
A condition of his bail on March 13, 2019, was to report the charges to his employer, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, which he apparently did that day.
“It did absolutely come as a shock,” said RDKB Chief Administrative Officer Mark Andison about learning of the charges last spring. Immediately afterwards, Andison said, “He was instructed not to report back to work.” Since then, Vanderniet has not worked at the pool.
Andison said that the RDKB hired a third-party workplace investigator soon after learning about the charges in order to determine whether any of the the-alleged conduct had occurred while Vanderniet was at the pool. After interviewing Vanderniet, other employees and the IT manager for Vanderniet’s workstation, the investigator determined that there was “no inappropriate use of [Vanderneit’s computer],” Andison said.
Vanderniet was hired by the RDKB in 2004 as a lifeguard. At the time, Andison said, he passed a criminal record check – a mandatory vetting process for all pool hires and employees who work with children. Though Vanderniet was not subjected to any further criminal record checks throughout his employment with the RDKB, such checks would not have turned up anything, Andison said.
Nevertheless, the RDKB CAO said, “we are currently reviewing our criminal record check policies.”
Vanderniet, who also worked as a lifeguard at the Greenwood Municipal Pool in 2015, is still technically an employee of the RDKB and Andison said that the regional district is “currently reviewing his employment status with our lawyers.” Vanderniet has not worked at the pool since notifying his employer in March.