Perth man sentenced for international child abuse

This is a joint release between Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force

A Perth man who pleaded guilty to procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside of Australia has received a suspended prison sentence in the Perth District Court today (25 November 2022).

The man, 65, was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment for the abuse – which started when the child was aged just 11 – but was released on an 18-month $5000 good behaviour bond with orders to complete specialist counselling sessions.

An investigation was launched in July 2021 after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers examined the man’s baggage upon his arrival at Perth International Airport from an overseas flight and found child abuse material on his electronic devices.

The matter was referred to the Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET), consisting of AFP and WA Police officers. WA JACET seized the man’s two mobile phones and a laptop for detailed examination and charged him.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Andrea Coleman said child sex offenders were not restricted by national or international borders – but neither were law enforcement agencies.

“Our officers work tirelessly with partners to identify and prosecute anyone who seeks to sexually abuse and harm children,” she said.

“We all have the same dedication to protecting children who do not have the means or mechanism to defend themselves.”

ABF Superintendent Vesna Gavranich said the result reinforced the importance of ABF officers having the powers under the Customs Act to examine all goods brought in by passengers at the border, including mobile phones and other electronic devices.

“In this instance we found the child abuse material on the passenger’s mobile phone which was searched as part our role at the border to protect children in our community and overseas,” Supt Gavranich said.

The man pleaded guilty in July (2022) to one charge of procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside of Australia, contrary to section 272.14 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years’ imprisonment.

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual abuse 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.

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. //

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