30-year-old man first in South Australia charged with possessing a child-like sex doll



This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and South Australia Police

A 30-year-old man has become the first person in South Australia to be charged for possessing a child-like sex doll under new Commonwealth laws targeting child abuse-related offences.

The man was charged late Tuesday (14 January) by the South Australia Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team and faces a potential 15-year jail term if convicted of possessing the anatomically-correct doll.

The new offence came into force on 20 September 2019 as part of the Combatting Child Sexual Exploitation Legislation Amendment Act 2019.

SA JACET launched an investigation into the 30-year-old’s activities in November 2019 after receiving intelligence from New South Wales Police Force and AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre), with support from PayPal Australia.    

Financial analysis by AUSTRAC’s Fintel Alliance identified the man had allegedly purchased a child-like sex doll from a consignor based in China in December 2018.

The man had also allegedly purchased a variety of children's clothing, including school uniforms, swimwear and children’s underwear.

On 14 January (2020), investigators executed a search warrant at the man’s home in South Australia’s South-East, where they seized a child-like sex doll, children’s clothing and a computer.

Police will allege child abuse material was stored on the computer. The man’s mobile phone and a bank card was also seized. A forensic examination of the seized electronic devices is ongoing.

The man is on bail and is expected to face Naracoorte Magistrate’s Court on 27 March, charged with:

  • one count of possessing a child-like sex doll or other object that resembles a child (or part of a child) under 18, and a reasonable person would consider it likely that the doll is intended to be used to simulate sexual intercourse, contrary to section 273A.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.  The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 15 years.
  • one count of possessing child abuse material accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code (Cth).   The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 15 years.
  • one count of importing a Tier 2 Good (the doll) contrary to section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment and 2,500 penalty units (a penalty unit is presently $210).

Research by the Australian Institute of Criminology found that use of these dolls may lead to an escalation in child sex offences - from viewing online child abuse material to contact sexual offending.

AFP Acting Commander South Australia Gail McClure said the dolls objectified children as sexual beings and could desensitise anyone who used them to the physical, emotional and psychological harm caused by sexual abuse.

“Some dolls are even robotic and designed to respond positively to the abuse,” she said.

“The Australian Federal Police does not condone any form of child exploitation, or activity of any kind that reinforces the sexualisation of children.

“This includes sexual gratification activity using items depicting children – these anatomically correct dolls are legally considered child exploitation material.

“This arrest highlights the collaborative work undertaken by the AFP and its partners to protect children and identify and prosecute anyone who seeks to exploit and harm them.”

South Australia Police Superintendent Mark Wieszyk, Acting Officer in Charge of the Serious Crime Coordination Branch, said: “This is another excellent example of the success from a multi-disciplinary approach to detecting and arresting offenders for serious offences, particularly those involving crimes whereby vulnerable children could be exploited or harmed in some way”.        

Australian Border Force officers seize all importations of childlike sex dolls that they intercept.

AFP and SA Police will be available today (16 January) after noon to speak on-camera about this arrest. Please contact AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297 if you are interested.

Media enquiries
AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297

SA Police Media: (08) 7322 3848

If it doesn't add up, speak up. Call the National Security Hotline - 1800 123 400.

Read the AFP Annual Report 2020-21

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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