71-year-old man jailed for live distance child abuse

Child_Exploitation

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

A West Australian man who paid more than $443,000 to sexually abuse children overseas via webcam from his Geraldton home has been sentenced to 14-and-a-half-years’ jail by the WA District Court yesterday (26 May 2022).

The man had pleaded guilty in November (2021) to 58 offences including persistent sexual abuse of a child outside Australia, procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside Australia and soliciting and possessing child abuse material.

The WA Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team arrested and charged the man in September 2020 after he was identified from financial data collected during a separate child protection investigation in South Australia.

During a search warrant at his home investigators found child abuse material on electronic devices, including images of girls as young as seven in sexually explicit poses.

Further forensic examination of his devices revealed the man had communicated via internet telecommunications apps with dozens of girls in the Philippines.

He procured children to engage in sexually explicit acts or be sexually abused on camera which he watched live from his home. He organised the exploitation and abuse through adult facilitators or the young victims themselves by sending them money.  

In one recorded chat he urged a girl who had just turned 13 not to tell other people, saying it “might get me in trouble with police and you to (sic)”.  He also threatened to share photographs of another girl with his friends if she did not engage in sexual activity for him to watch live on his computer.

AFP Commander John Tanti said the AFP and its partners, both in Australia and overseas, were committed to tracking down and charging anyone involved in exploiting and sexually abusing children.

“It is heart-breaking that vulnerable children are being degraded to satisfy the desires of these offenders, the impact of this abuse continues long after the images or videos are recorded,” he said.

“AFP investigators are committed to tracking down those responsible for inflicting harm on young children and bringing them to account for their despicable acts."

The 58 offences were:

  • Three counts of persistent sexual contact with a child overseas, contrary to section 272.11 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Twenty counts of procuring a child for sexual activity overseas, contrary to section 272.14 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Twenty counts of engage in sexual activity with a child overseas, contrary to section 272.9 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Twelve counts of use a carriage service to access/solicit and transmit child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Two counts of solicit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of possess child abuse material obtained through a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The man has been ordered to serve nine years before being eligible to apply for parole.

Five alleged adult child abuse facilitators are before the courts in the Philippines as a result of investigations led by Philippine authorities following the referral of intelligence by the AFP’s International Command into the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC). The intelligence stemmed from the AFP investigations in Australia.

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the ACCCE is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety.

An award winning podcast launched last year by the ACCCE 'Closing The Net' is working to change that, showcasing that knowledge is power and that our only chance to help prevent this issue is if we bring a 'whole-of-community' response.

The podcast series offers valuable tips and advice on how to keep kids safe online. Listen to the Closing The Net podcast on your favourite streaming platform.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, 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.

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297

WA Police Force Media: (08) 9222 1011

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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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