Moreton Bay man jailed for 12 years for child abuse material offences

Editor’s note: Vision from this arrest is available via Hightail.

A man from Queensland’s Moreton Bay was sentenced to 12 years’ jail in the Brisbane Supreme Court today (19 January 2023) after pleading guilty to eight child abuse related offences.

The Morayfield man, 30, was arrested and charged by the Brisbane Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) on 15 April 2021 after police found child abuse material and records of a sexually explicit chat on his mobile phone.

The investigation began after the AFP received a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the United States about an online user uploading child abuse material to the Kik Messenger platform.

AFP officers from the Brisbane JACET, identified the man as the person using the account.

Police arrested the man at a shopping centre and found child abuse material on his mobile phone. Child abuse material was also located on a second mobile phone, following a search warrant executed at the man’s home.

Further investigations conducted by Brisbane JACET revealed the man was in contact with a woman in the United States who was allegedly abusing a child.

Through the AFP International Network information was provided to US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), resulting inHSI Special Agents executing a search warrant in April 2021 at a home in Florida, where the woman was arrested and a child was rescued from further abuse

On 16 September 2022, the man pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court to eight offences including:

  • Three counts of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Two counts of using a carriage service to cause child abuse material to be transmitted to self, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of encouraging an aggravated offence against sections 272.10(1)(a)(iii) and (b)(ii), that offence being causing a person to engage in sexual activity with a child outside Australia, where that person is in a position of trust or authority in relation to that child, contrary to section 272.19(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) and;
  • One count of making child exploitation material, contrary to section 228B of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld)

The man was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of six years.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Kurt Wesche said the investigation showed how vital the AFP International Networks was in protecting children in Australia and around the world.

“It takes a network to break a network, which is why these international partnerships are essential to our goal in stopping child exploitation and sexual abuse,” Detective Acting Superintendent Wesche said.

U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Regional Attaché Ernest Verina said HSI valued working with Australian partners to take all necessary actions to identify and prosecute offenders who harm children and rescue those children from further harm.

“Law enforcement and the communities we serve need to all remain ever vigilant against online threats to those who are the most vulnerable,” HSI Attaché Verina said.

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation 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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