Australian flight attendant jailed for abuse of children overseas

A 52 year old Melbourne man has been sentenced to 18 and a half years’ imprisonment today (Monday 30 March, 2020), after sexually abusing children in the Philippines.

The Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET) executed a search warrant at the man’s property in Truganina on 15 June, 2017, and later charged the man in relation to 35 serious child sex and exploitation offences.  

The offender, who was employed as an international flight attendant with a commercial airline, travelled to the Philippines on a regular basis in both private and professional capacities and offended on 25 separate occasions over a seven year period (between 2010 – 2017).

The JACET identified 26 female child victims in the Philippines aged between 12 and 17 years old as a result of the investigation and utilised the AFP International Network to engage with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to locate victims for welfare purposes.

The man pleaded guilty to the following offences in Melbourne’s Magistrates Court on 20 February, 2020:

  • Three charges of Persistent Sexual Abuse of a child under 16 outside of Australia - 272.11(1) Criminal Code (Cth) 1995;
  • Seven charges of Engage in sexual intercourse with a child under 16 outside of Australia 272.8(1) Criminal Code (Cth) 1995;
  • 12 charges of Production child pornography material outside of Australia - Section 273.5(1)(a)(ii) Criminal Code (Cth) 1995;
  • Eight charges of Encourage to procure a child to engage in sexual activity outside of Australia (section 272.14(1) - Section 272.19(1) Criminal Code (Cth) 1995;
  • Three charges of Procure a child for sexual activity outside of Australia - 272.14 Criminal Code (Cth) 1995;
  • One charge of Importation child pornography material - Section 233BAB(5) Customs Act (Cth) 1901; and
  • One charge of Possess Child Pornography Material - 70(1) Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) (currently superseded)

The offender was sentenced to 18 and a half years’ imprisonment with a minimum parole period of 14 years.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Northern Command Lesa Gale said offences against children are increasing and international borders are no hindrance to predators.

“Commonwealth authorities are dedicated to fighting child sexual exploitation both abroad and at home and bringing those who commit these offences to justice,” she said.

The CDPP’s Deputy Director responsible for Human Exploitation and Border Protection, Mark de Crespigny, said the successful prosecution outcome was indicative of strong working relationships between partner agencies.

“The work the AFP and our other partner agencies do in investigating the sexual exploitation of children is to be commended,” he said.

“The CDPP is committed to prosecuting those who sexually abuse children to the full extent possible.”

The Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team is comprised of investigators from the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police targeting the national and international influence of child sexual exploitation offences.

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in the possession or sharing of child exploitation material are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

You can also make a report online by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report.

Note to Media:

CHILD ABUSE MATERIAL, NOT ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’

Use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ actually benefits child sex abusers:

It indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim, and therefore legality on the part of the abuser;

It conjures up images of children posing in ‘provocative’ positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.  This is not pornography.

Media enquiries:

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

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The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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