Former Hal-Con board member facing child pornography charges
Published Friday, February 15, 2019 1:32PM AST
Last Updated Friday, February 15, 2019 8:59PM AST
A man well known as one of the organizers of a Halifax sci-fi convention has been charged with child pornography offences.
As a Hal-Con board member and volunteer, he often spent time around children, and the news has shocked the community.
Halifax Regional Police released details Friday afternoon that Philip Travers Milo, of Halifax, now faces charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.
Police say they've been investigating him since last spring.
“As a result of that investigation our investigators from our internet child exploitation unit conducted a search warrant (Thursday) where they seized a number of electronic devices, along with media storage devices,” said Halifax police spokesman Const. John MacLeod.
Police say the 47-year-old man was arrested during that search.
Hal-Con is an annual science fiction convention held in Halifax and last fall Milo marked 10 years as a volunteer with the organization.
As part of that work, he makes public appearances in various costumes, which often meant being around children.
Friday, Hal-Con's executive director confirmed that Milo is no longer with the group.
“We were shocked to learn about the charges laid against Travers Milo,” wrote Jennifer Lambe. “Everyone is stunned, upset and at a loss to explain this. During his time with Hal-Con we had not received any complaints or had concerns raised about him.”
The statement continues: “He is no longer with the organization. We are working to improve our internal processes to screen members of the team for potential risk, and we plan to consult with local law enforcement and security experts to guide us in that endeavour going forward. The safety and well-being of our attendees and convention community is now and will continue to be of the utmost importance to us.”
Ashley Barnaby recognized Milo's name immediately because he had recently visited her son in costume for an event at the IWK Health Centre, children's hospital.
“My first reaction was complete shock,” she said.
Hal-Con says anyone who does special appearances through them is subjected to a background check. Such checks cover criminal convictions -- but don't identify individuals under investigation.
“The fact that this investigation was ongoing and we, not knowing anything, invited him into our celebration, and unfortunately it puts a damper on everything looking back now,” Barnaby said.
The charges against Phillip Milo have not been tested in court. He is currently out on bail with several conditions, which include not having contact with anyone under the age of 18, and not using the internet for anything other than work, education, or personal banking.
CTV News spoke to several members of the cosplay community, of which Milo was a part. No one would make an official comment, but they did say they were shocked to hear about the charges.
CTV News also reached out to Milo, but have not heard back. He's due back in court on April 10.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.