Australian man charged for allegedly sexually abusing children overseas

Child_Exploitation

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A 59-year-old man will appear in Sydney Magistrate's Court today (19 November 2021) accused of sexually abusing young boys in the Philippines.

Australian Federal Police arrested the man after he flew into Sydney Airport last night (18 November 2021) and will today (19 November 2021) apply in court to have him extradited to Victoria to face 12 charges, including five of engaging in sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia.

Allegations the man had been abusing children overseas came to the attention of the Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET), during a separate investigation into another Australian citizen.

As part of the operation, police interviewed several boys who allege the now 59-year-old sexually abused them or engaged in sexual activity in their presence in Manila between 2016 and 2020. The boys were aged between nine and 14 at the time of the alleged offending.

Police will also allege the man sent money to a now convicted Philippines child abuse facilitator between July and December 2017.

The 59-year-old has been overseas since departing Australia in January 2018. 

In October (2021), investigators from the Victorian JACET successfully applied to the Melbourne Magistrate's Court for a warrant to be issued for his arrest over the alleged offending.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Jarrod Ragg said police around the world work tirelessly together to combat the exploitation and abuse of children. 

"Our common goal is to protect children, wherever they live, and ensure anyone who harms them is identified and brought before the courts," Detective Acting Superintendent Ragg said. 

"We are cognisant that the reopening of international borders may likely result in travel overseas by child sex offenders. The AFP and its partners are warning these individuals to not test our resolve, as we will ensure they are caught and face the full extent of the law in Australia."

The Victorian man has been charged with:

  • Five counts of engaging in sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia (Philippines), contrary to section 272.8(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Two counts of cause a child to engage in sexual intercourse in the presence of the defendant while outside of Australia (Philippines), contrary to section 272.8(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Four counts of engage in sexual activity (other than sexual intercourse) with a child while outside Australia (Philippines), contrary to section 272.9(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (cth);
  • One count of cause a child to engage in sexual activity (other than sexual intercourse) in the presence of the defendant and outside Australia (Philippines), contrary to section 272.9(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences range from 20 to 25 years' imprisonment.

The Victorian JACET comprises of officers from the AFP and Victoria Police who are dedicated to combatting the national and international online exploitation of children.

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.

You can also make a report online by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available, visit the ACCCE to learn more.

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. 

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2020-21

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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