Former 'Degrassi High' Actor Arrested in Child Porn Bust

Courtesy of YouTube/Toronto Police News Conference
Byrd Dickens, Dylan Anne McEwen

Jason 'Byrd' Dickens and three women were arrested after a Toronto Police investigation.

Jason 'Byrd' Dickens, who played Scott Smith, an abusive boyfriend in 10 episodes of the popular TV series Degrassi High, faces varied child exploitation charges after an arrest by Toronto Police Services.

Dickens, 45, was slapped with 20 charges in all, including allegedly making and possessing child pornography, sexual assault and bestiality. He was arrested along with three other women, including his partner, Dylan Anne McEwen, 31.

Inspector Pauline Gray of the Toronto Police sex crimes unit told those at a press conference Thursday that the arrests "resulted in the rescue of children that were not only being sexually abused but then further exploited by having this abuse permanently captured by the recording of it."

"We are concerned there may be more victims in the community," Gray added.

The long-running Degrassi franchise, from indie producer Epitome Pictures, launched the careers of the rapper Drake, 90210's Shenae Grimes and The L.A. Complex's Cassie Steele.

After his recurring role on Degrassi High, Dickens became a veteran of camera and electrical departments on Hollywood film and TV sets in Toronto. His recent rigging gaffer credits include work on Beauty and the Beast, Transporter: The Series, Minority Report and XXX: Return of Xander Cage.

Detective Mike Sabadin told reporters that Dickens and women had engaged in the alleged sexual abuse of a child between 2000 and 2006 and that "they made, possessed and distributed online child sexual abuse images and videos."

Both Dickens and McEwen remain in custody and are scheduled to appear in an Old City Hall courtroom in Toronto on Sept. 1.

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