In Kingston, Ont. The man facing 76 counts, including human trafficking, sexual assault and production of child pornography, was a “prominent” figure in the city’s tech sector in recent years, according to one of his 18 alleged victims.
Michael Mark Haaima, 37, was arrested in April on charges that weren’t announced until Monday. The alleged offenses involve at least two underage victims, according to court records.
One victim, whose identity is obscured by a publication ban, said Haaima was a well-known member of the industry.
“It’s all the more messed up,” she said via text message, “an influential Kingston figure. It’s a terrifying thing.”
According to an article in Refined Kingston magazine, Haaima started a one-man web design company named Ferus Media in 2011, before teaming up with others to officially launch Aviio Digital in early 2018.
The latter company, which operated out of downtown Kingston, specialized in website design and e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, brand development and digital marketing, according to the report. article.
Before going into business himself, Haaima spent several years working at design firms in Kingston, the article also states.
The victim does “what I can to override”
While court records obtained by CBC specifically name 10 victims in Haaima’s case, a total of 18 victims have been identified, with the possibility of other victims coming forward, according to the OPP.
The charges against Haaima include 18 counts of sexual assault, five counts of unlawful access to child pornography and four counts of forcible confinement, as well as (but not limited to):
- Sexual assault with choking.
- Compulsions to commit bestiality.
- Procure a person under the age of 18.
- Trafficking a person under the age of 18.
- Uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.
- Lure to make child pornography.
- Do child pornography.
- Criminal harassment.
- Overcome resistance by choking.
The victims include both adults and youths, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.
While police say 76 charges were laid, court records obtained by CBC News only detail 60 of the offences. CBC News has contacted the Ontario Provincial Police and Kingston police for clarification.
Another victim, who also cannot be named due to the publication ban, said via text message that it had been “a difficult journey” since reporting to police.
“I do what I can to get over it,” she said.
The Haaima investigation began in January 2022 after Kingston police received complaints that someone had used social media to lure the victims.
Bail for Haaima was denied in early May, but the Ontario Superior Court of Justice confirmed on Tuesday that Haaima had requested a review of whether he should be freed. No date for this hearing has yet been set.
On Tuesday afternoon, Haaima made his first appearance in provincial court since the charges were announced.
He appeared via video link from the Quinte Detention Center in Napanee, Ont., wearing an orange jumpsuit and medical mask. He kept his arms crossed behind his back as he addressed Justice of the Peace HW Chiang as “sir”.
His next appearance in provincial court is scheduled for July 19.