“Man Jailed for 13 Years for Sexual Abuse and Grooming of Overseas-Based Children”

Australia, Police

A 46-year-old man from Epping, Victoria, has been sentenced to 13 years and 8 months in prison for sexually abusing and grooming children under the age of 16 outside of Australia.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to 13 child abuse offenses, including the persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16 years of age outside of Australia.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) officers intercepted the man at Melbourne International Airport when he returned from the Philippines in September 2022.

His phone was found to contain child abuse material, and he was arrested.

In a joint investigation with the Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), it was discovered that the man had been communicating with children in the Philippines via social media and had arranged to meet them for sexual purposes.

He had also made payments to overseas facilitators in exchange for child abuse material.

During the search of the man’s home, the AFP seized a laptop and external hard drives, which contained over 900 files of child abuse material, including self-produced videos of the man engaging in sexual activity with children under the age of 16.

The investigation also led to the rescue of two 9-year-old girls in the Philippines, who were removed from harm by the Philippine National Police in February and March 2023.

Detective Superintendent Bernard Geason of the AFP said, “We cannot send a clearer message to offenders – if you engage in these abhorrent activities, you will be found and face the full force of the law.

Online child abuse causes significant harm to victims who suffer each time images or videos of their abuse are accessed and shared.

Superintendent Kelly-Anne Parish of the ABF also stated that the ABF remains absolutely resolute in its approach to child exploitation material, and that cases like these demonstrate the importance of disrupting this abhorrent crime.

The use of the term “child abuse material” instead of “child pornography” was emphasized in the press release to reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on the victims.

The ABF and AFP take child abuse seriously and encourage anyone with information about suspected child abuse to report it to the appropriate authorities.