MIL-OSI Australia: Melbourne man, 59, jailed for child abuse material offences after tip off from foreign law enforcement

9

Source: Australian Federal Police

A Melbourne man arrested after producing and accessing significant amounts of child exploitation material was sentenced to four years and eight months’ imprisonment by the Melbourne County Court yesterday (16 June 2022).

The 59-year-old man pled guilty earlier this month (June 2022) to 12 online child abuse-related offences, including producing child pornography through a carriage service.

He was arrested by the Victorian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) at his Traralgon property on 8 July 2021 after a referral from INTERPOL in Rome.

Foreign law enforcement identified an Australian online account displaying a concerning interest in accessing child abuse material.

Victorian JACET members worked to identify a Traralgon-based man.

Investigators from the Victorian JACET – comprising officers from the AFP and Victoria Police – searched the man’s home after his arrest and found child abuse material on electronic devices.  Some of the material was of young children being sexually abused, while other files were sexually-explicit videos self-produced by children the man had contacted online.

AFP Detective Superintendent Simone Butcher said the completion of court proceedings was an opportunity to reflect on the real-world harm done by those who exploit vulnerable children.

“The AFP is working tirelessly with both domestic and international partners to identify and stop anyone involved in harming children,” D/Supt Butcher said.

“Children are being forced to endure horrific pain, violence and humiliation for the gratification of depraved adults and this causes lifelong physical and emotional harm.

“We will never give up our fight to protect children and prosecute anyone involved in this vile behaviour.”

D/Supt Butcher said the case should also be a warning to adults who were trying to prey on children online.

“The AFP and its partners have officers working on a range of platforms online to identify people trying to harm children. The next ‘child’ you try to exploit could instead be a police officer,” she said.

The man was convicted of 12 offences, including:

  • Possess Child Abuse Material Obtained Through a Carriage Service – s474.22A(1) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Transmit Child Abuse Material Through a Carriage Service to Self – s474.22(1)(a)(ii) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Transmit Child Abuse Material Through a Carriage Service – s474.22(1)(a)(i)(iii) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Solicit Child Abuse Material Through a Carriage Service – s474.22(1)(a)(i)(iv) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Attempt to Solicit Child Abuse Material Through a Carriage Service – s474.22(1)(a)(i)(iv) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Solicit Child Pornography Through a Carriage Service – s474.19(1)(a)(iv) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Producing Child Pornography Through a Carriage Service – s474.20(1)(a)(ii) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Use Carriage service to transmit communication to person under 16 years of age, s474.27A Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

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.

Media enquiries:

AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297

MIL OSI News