Victorian man sentenced for soliciting child abuse material
A 28-year-old Victorian man has been sentenced to three years imprisonment after he was found guilty of soliciting child abuse material from a young girl he met online.
AFP investigators from the Victoria Joint-Anti Child Exploitation Team launched an investigation in March 2019 after law enforcement in Canada reported an Australian Snapchat user was allegedly grooming young girls online to perform sexually explicit acts for him and was then blackmailing them for more material.
Police inquiries linked the Glenroy man to the Snapchat accounts and during the investigation the man committed further offences after engaging online with someone who he thought was a 14-year-old girl but was actually an AFP covert officer.
The man was arrested and charged with seven offences in July 2019.
He was found guilty of five offences in December (2020) after a trial in the Victorian County Court. He was acquitted of two offences relating to another young girl.
He was yesterday (18 August 2021) sentenced to three years imprisonment and ordered to serve six months behind bars before being released on a three-year Recognisance Release Order.
AFP Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling said it was important that children felt empowered to tell parents and caregivers if something doesn’t seem right when they are online.
“In this instance, two brave girls reported the unwanted online contact to authorities in Canada. With the assistance of information from those law enforcement partners we were able to identify and charge this man,” Detective Superintendent Crossling said.
“Parents and carers – please talk to your children about the dangers of people contacting them online through popular games and apps, but also let them know that they can come to you with any problem so that this type of offending can be stopped.”
Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online.
If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available.
Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protection children online can be found at ThinkUKnow, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.
Note to media:
Use of term 'CHILD ABUSE MATERIAL' NOT 'CHILD PORNOGRAPHY'
The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.
Use of the phrase "child pornography" is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:
- indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
- conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.
Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.
AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297