Melbourne man sentenced to jail for attempting to groom children online

A 25-year-old Melbourne man was today (19 April 2021) jailed for five years and six months after pleading guilty to using live video chat to record explicit conversations with children on the applications Snapchat and Omegle.

The man was arrested on 24 January 2020, after investigators from the Victorian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) – a partnership between the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police – executed a search warrant at his Lalor home in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

During the search warrant, investigators seized electronic devices which were found to contain child abuse material relating to multiple children. Police also seized clothing and furniture items which were visible in the recorded video offending.

Since the man’s arrest, Vic JACET and the Victoria Police victim identification team have so far identified 10 child victims in this matter and have been in contact with their families to check on their welfare and provide support.

The 25-year-old pleaded guilty to the following charges:

  • 15 counts of using a carriage service to engage in sexual activity with a child under 16 contrary to section 474.25A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Three counts of using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to a child under 16, contrary to section 474.27A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of producing child abuse material contrary to section 51C of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic);
  • One count of using a carriage service to groom a person under 16 years, contrary to section 474.27(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The man was granted bail at the time of his arrest but has now been taken into custody following the sentence being handed down by the Melbourne County Court.

He will need to serve three years and three months before being eligible for parole.

AFP Commander Investigations Todd Hunter said the AFP is committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse in the community.

“Our investigators work tirelessly to find those who seek to interact with or groom children online for sexual purposes,” Commander Hunter said.

“The AFP and our partners will always work to protect children from the horrific and lifelong impacts of online child sexual abuse.”

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.

You can also make a report online by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report.

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