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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Online child sex predator jailed

A 52-year-old NSW man has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in Australia and two young girls have been removed from harm in the Philippines following an international child protection investigation.

The court heard the man paid for videos which showed children being sexually abused and also solicited child abuse material from a minor.

A joint AFP, Australian Border Force (ABF) and Philippine National Police (PNP) investigation began after ABF officers found child abuse material on the man’s mobile phone during a baggage examination at Sydney International Airport in April last year.

AFP officers executed a search warrant at the man’s Hunter Valley residence the following month, where they found child abuse material on another mobile phone.

The man was charged later that month and pleaded guilty in November to four offences.

As a result of the investigation into the man’s activities, the AFP referred intelligence to the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC). Inquiries by the PNP in Manila resulted in two girls being taken into the care of child protection services in June 2023.

PNP arrested a man, 25, in the Philippines who had allegedly facilitated the production of child sex abuse material after conversing with the NSW man. He remains before the courts.

The NSW man was sentenced at the Downing Centre District Court last week to seven years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of four years and three months.

AFP Detective Superintendent Emmanuel Tsardoulias said child sex abuse victims suffered each time images or videos of their abuse was accessed and shared.

“The man did not just pay to watch children being hurt – his payment for child abuse material encouraged harm to be inflicted on young girls for his own personal gratification,” he said.

“The AFP is working tirelessly with partners to protect children – no matter where they live – and arresting and prosecuting anyone involved in harming them and stealing their innocence.”

AFP Manila Liaison Officer Detective Sergeant Daisie Beckensall said the AFP’s international network and all partner agencies were committed to protecting children around the world.

“The rescues and arrests are a powerful reminder of why the AFP works closely with partners around the globe – to share intelligence and the resources necessary to target anyone who preys on children,” Det-Sgt Beckensall said.

ABF Superintendent Brett Totten said as result of the detection skills and intuition of our highly trained Border Force officers, two children were now out of harm’s way.

“The ABF will always work to protect our community’s most vulnerable, ensuring we can assist our partner agencies and protect as many at-risk children as we can.

“We will continue to work alongside our federal counterparts to identify and prosecute those who seek to harm and exploit children, be that in Australia or abroad.”

Since its inception in February 2019, PICACC operations have resulted in 679 victims being removed from harm and 142 alleged facilitators arrested.

Of these, the rescue of 239 victims internationally and the arrest of 56 alleged offenders were a direct result of AFP International Command members in the Philippines facilitating and value-adding to referrals from Australian-based investigations.

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