An undercover officer testified Tuesday he took on a false identity in cyberspace to find out if a suspect was serious about targeting a child sexually.

The officer cannot be named because of the work he currently does as a detective.

In 2016, he was an investigator with the Northern Alberta Internet Child Exploitation Unit. He worked on the case of 46-year-old Wesley Vander Leeuw, a soccer coach who was arrested in 2017.

The officer told court his work involved following up on tip from a woman who answered a Craigslist ad the year before.

The woman contacted police, claiming a man named Wes had been in online text conversations with her regarding hot tubs, polyamorous relationships and the introduction of children to sex acts.

The undercover officer testified he made contact with a person who answered to that name, at the phone number that was provided by the tipster.

He also told court he created an online persona of a woman named Shannon who had a daughter. 

"I used the name Emma and said that she was 11 years old," the officer told Crown prosecutor Tara Hayes.

The officer maintained that he proceeded slowly with his online investigation. Eventually, he felt the suspect’s actions crossed the line into criminal activity. 

He testified that he asked the suspect online, “Are you serious in exploring this after Christmas or is this just a fantasy chat?"

Online messages from a large file were entered as a court exhibit. They include sexually explicit language, allegedly from the person known online as Wes.

"How do you want your daughter to learn about sex?" said one.

"What would you like to have done and or see done?" 

Another text states, "Taboo is what we decide. Yes if she wants you there you should be."

On Monday, Vander Leeuw pleaded not guilty to a total of five charges. The allegations relate to communication and arrangement for a sexual purpose with someone under 16, as well as transmission, sale, export or distribution of child pornography.

The trial will continue Wednesday.