Victorian Man Sentenced to 13 Years for Child Abuse Offenses,

Australia, Police

A Victorian man has been sentenced to 13 years and eight months’ imprisonment by the Melbourne County Court after pleading guilty to 13 child abuse offenses. The 46-year-old man from Epping engaged in persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16 years of age outside of Australia.

Investigations revealed that the man communicated with overseas-based victims through social media applications to solicit child abuse material and arrange meetings with minors in the Philippines. Payments were also made to overseas facilitators in exchange for child abuse material.

In September 2022, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers conducted a search on the man at Melbourne International Airport upon his arrival from the Philippines. They discovered child abuse material on his phone, which was subsequently seized. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) took over the investigation and executed a search warrant at the man’s home in November 2022, where a laptop and external hard drives were confiscated.

A forensic review of the electronic devices uncovered over 900 files of child abuse material, including self-produced videos of the man engaging in sexual activity with a child under 16 years of age in the Philippines. The information provided to the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICAAC) led to the rescue of two nine-year-old girls by the Philippine National Police in February and March 2023.

On March 26, 2024, the man pleaded guilty to the charges and was subsequently sentenced to 13 years and eight months’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of nine years and six months.

AFP Detective Superintendent Bernard Geason emphasized the importance of strong law enforcement partnerships in bringing such offenders to justice and protecting young victims. ABF Superintendent Kelly-Anne Parish reiterated the ABF’s commitment to combatting child exploitation material and highlighted the role of ABF officers in disrupting this heinous crime.

It is crucial to use the term “Child Abuse Material” instead of “Child Pornography” to accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims. The use of the term “child pornography” incorrectly implies consent and compliance on the part of the victim and may misconstrue the nature of the abuse.

The sentencing of this Victorian man sends a clear message that engaging in these abhorrent activities will lead to severe consequences. The AFP and Victoria Police Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) continue their relentless efforts to protect children and prosecute those who harm them.