Queensland man charged for alleged online sexual abuse of up to 50 Philippines children

hand holding handcuffs

A 57-year-old Queensland man faced court today on 75 new charges including the online child sexual abuse of up to 50 victims in the Philippines, following an investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The man was initially charged and taken into custody in November 2019 by the Australian Border Force (ABF) who allegedly found child abuse material on his phone as he entered Australia from the Philippines in October 2019.

The ABF subsequently referred the matter to the AFP Brisbane Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET) and transferred a number of electronic devices to the AFP for further investigation.

With the assistance of the AFP’s Brisbane Digital Forensic Team, JACET Investigators conducted a full forensic review of the devices which police will allege revealed extensive evidence of offending.

In June this year, Brisbane JACET provided information via AFP Manila Post to Philippine authorities regarding the man’s victims and facilitators. This led to the rescue of three of the man’s child victims by Philippine authorities who also arrested a Philippine national who is an alleged facilitator of the abuse.

The AFP laid the 75 new charges against the man on 5 June 2020, highlighting the seriousness of the alleged offending.

AFP Child Protection Operations Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson stressed that child sexual abuse offences committed online have real-world consequences for both perpetrators and victims.

“Our message to the community is clear - if you commit child sexual abuse offences online, you are complicit in the physical and emotional harm of children,” Detective Superintendent Hudson said.

“No child anywhere in the world should have to be victimised for the perverted desires of some people in our community.

“This outcome is another example that our officers are relentless in hunting down perpetrators and ensuring they face the full force of the law.”

Detective Superintendent Hudson also acknowledged the work of the Philippines authorities and the importance of cross-border collaboration to stop the abuse of children.

“This is an international problem and needs an international solution,” Detective Superintendent Hudson said.

“We will continue to work closely with the Philippine National Police to identify further victims and remove them from harm.”

ABF Commander Investigations, Graeme Grosse, said the arrest and rescues were a powerful reminder of why the ABF works closely with both domestic and international stakeholders.

“Law enforcement agencies around the world are just as dedicated as we are to strongly combatting this type of activity, which has no place in any society. It is only when we work together that the most effective outcomes can be achieved, and the ABF continues to work tirelessly to detect, investigate and refer these types of abhorrent cases,” Commander Grosse said.

The matter was heard in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today. The man did not seek bail and was remanded in custody.

The 75 charges laid by the AFP on 5 June 2020 include:

  • 2 x Preparing for or planning an offence against Division 272 contrary to s 272.20 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), that offence being engaging in sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, contrary to s 272.8(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 28 x Encouraging an offence against Division 272 contrary to s 272.19 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), that offence being procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside Australia, contrary to s 272.14 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 13 x Causing child to engage in sexual intercourse in the presence of the defendant outside Australia, contrary to s 272.8(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 3 x Causing child to engage in sexual activity in the presence of the defendant outside Australia, contrary to s 272.9(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 6 x Procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside Australia, contrary to s 272.14 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 2 x Using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to person under 16 years of age, contrary to s 474.27A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 3 x Benefiting from an offence against Division 272 contrary to s 272.18 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), that offence being procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside Australia, contrary to s 272.14 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 13 x Causing child pornography material to be transmitted to himself using a carriage service, contrary to s 474.19(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 2 x Transmitting child pornography material using a carriage service, contrary to s 474.19(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 1 x Soliciting child pornography material using a carriage service, contrary to s 474.19(1)(a)(iv) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 1 x Impersonate Commonwealth official, contrary to s 148.1(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • 1 x Possess child exploitation material, contrary to s 228D of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld)

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 at www.accce.gov.au/report.

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EDITORS NOTE: Media are reminded of their obligations under s15A of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW) and s105 of the Children and Young Person (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW).

Note to media:

USE OF TERM 'CHILD ABUSE' MATERIAL, NOT 'CHILD PORNOGRAPHY'

Use of the phrase "child pornography" 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 captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not "pornography".

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