MIL-OSI Australia: Increased sentence for man jailed for sexually abusing minors in South-East Asia

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Source: Australian Federal Police

Editor’s note: Images available via Hightail.

An Adelaide man who sexually abused several minors in Cambodia and kept a collection of child abuse material has had his sentence increased to 12 years’ imprisonment by the South Australia Court of Appeal today (22 June, 2022).

The Commonwealth successfully appealed for an increased sentence after the man, 49, was sentenced to eight years, nine months and 19 days imprisonment in 2021.

In 2020, the man pleaded guilty to nine Commonwealth offences after an extensive investigation by the South Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (SA JACET), which included comparing his features to those of a man abusing minors in graphic videos posted online.

The SA JACET launched an investigation in early 2019 after information was received from Queensland Police about comments on a child abuse website that were suspected to have been posted by someone in South Australia.

The comments included a desire for photographs of Asian minors aged eight to 12. Police inquiries linked the internet subscription details to the Adelaide man.

Officers from SA JACET, which comprises Australian Federal Police and South Australia Police, arrested the man in May 2019 after they executed a search warrant at his home and found a USB containing aggravated child abuse material.

On 17 January 2020, the man pleaded guilty to nine Commonwealth offences including:

  • Five counts of sexual conduct with a child under 16 while outside of Australia, contrary to section 50BC of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth); and
  • Four counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 16 while outside Australia, contrary to section 50BA of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

AFP Acting Sergeant Jordan Dowling said it was important for the public to be aware that the court had imposed a new sentence in this matter.

“The AFP works tirelessly with international partners to ensure that Australians are held to account for any acts of child sexual abuse they commit while overseas,” Acting Sergeant Dowling said.

“Our investigation sends a strong message to anyone who thinks they are safe from prosecution if they commit these vile acts overseas – we will be waiting for you when you come home.”

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