Brisbane man jailed for online child abuse offences

A Brisbane man has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for online child abuse related offences.

The man, 43, was sentenced yesterday (20 October, 2022) in the Brisbane District Court after he pleaded guilty earlier this year to fifteen charges.

The investigation began in December 2020 when the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received information from the United States about an online user uploading child abuse material to the Kik messenger platform.

AFP investigators from the Brisbane Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET), linked the man to the associated account despite his use of a VPN in an effort to conceal his identity.

The man pleaded guilty on 9 June 2022 to:

  • One count of producing child abuse material, contrary to section 474.23(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Five counts of transmitting child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of accessing child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Four counts of possessing or controlling child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • Three counts of possessing dangerous drugs, contrary to section 9 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld).

He also pleaded guilty on 18 October 2022 to one count of destroying evidence in a federal judicial proceeding, contrary to section 39(1) of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

The man was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, to be released on two years’ probation after serving one year in custody.

AFP Constable Tom Clayworth said the investigation should serve as a warning that the AFP was dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse.

“This investigation is another example of the expertise and commitment of the AFP in helping protect children everywhere from online predators,” he said.

“If you have information that could help law enforcement, please contact the ACCCE at https://www.accce.gov.au/report.”

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.

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