A Brisbane man, 34, who groomed a teenager to send him sexually explicit images was one of three Queensland men jailed last week for online child abuse offences.
The men, who were each arrested and charged in 2021 for separate offending, received prison sentences ranging from three years’ to 18 months’.
The 34-year-old man, who groomed a teenager, was arrested in August, 2021, after AFP officers from the Brisbane Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) executed a search warrant at his Kuraby home.
Investigators located child abuse material on his digital devices, including sexualised text messages he sent to a child he knew was aged under 18.
A forensic examination of the man’s digital devices located more than 5000 images and 1000 videos classified as child abuse material.
The man pleaded guilty to:
- One count of using a carriage service to groom a person under 16 years of age, contrary to section 474.27(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
- Fifteen counts of use a carriage service to cause child pornography material to be transmitted to the person, contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
- Ten counts of using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to a person under 16 years of age, contrary to section 474.27A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
- Three counts of accessing child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
- Three counts of possession of child exploitation material, contrary to section 228D of the Criminal Code (QLD).
The man was sentenced in the Brisbane District Court for the grooming offence to three years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12 months. He was also sentenced to two years’ imprisonment to be served concurrently for the indecent communication to a person under 16 years of age and child abuse material offences.
A Gold Coast man, 23, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to accessing and possessing more than one terabyte of child abuse material.
AFP investigators executed a search warrant in November, 2021, at the man’s Southport home, after he was linked to a social media account that had uploaded 65 videos and images of child abuse material.
During the search warrant, officers examined the man’s phone and located another social media account in his name that contained more than one terabyte of child abuse material.
The man pleaded guilty to:
- One count of possessing child abuse material accessed through a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
- One count of accessing child abuse material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
Each offence has a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment.
The man was sentenced in Southport District Court to two years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of four months.
The third man jailed last week was arrested at his Morayfield home in April, 2021, after AFP investigators executed a search warrant and located child abuse material on his phone.
He pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child abuse material accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
The man was sentenced in Brisbane District Court to 18 months’ imprisonment and released immediately on a $1000, two-year good behaviour bond. He was also placed on probation for two years.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Mary Bolton said the investigations into the men’s activities highlighted the AFP’s commitment to protecting children and bringing predators to justice.
“No child should ever have their innocence taken away and their images shared online or directly with a predator,” Acting Superintendent Bolton said.
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.