Sydney man sentenced after investigation led to rescue of three children in Philippines

A Sydney man, 64, who travelled to the Philippines to sexually abuse children has been sentenced to eight years and 10 months’ imprisonment for producing child abuse material and charges associated with child sex tourism.

The man was sentenced in the Sydney Downing Centre on Friday, 3 December, 2021, and will serve a non-parole period of six years.

The AFP investigation led to three children being removed from harm in the Philippines in May 2020.

The mother of two of the children, who was also the stepmother to the third, was arrested following a joint investigation by the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine National Police based on AFP International Command in the Philippines referring intelligence into the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC).

The investigation in Australia began when the AFP received intelligence from the Department of Home Affairs indicating the Sydney man had regularly travelled to Manila and may have engaged in criminal offences while abroad.

The AFP’s Eastern Command Child Protection Operations launched an investigation, with financial intelligence obtained from AUSTRAC indicating the man had made 36 transactions totalling $8,816.50 to recipients in the Philippines over a number of years.

AFP members executed a search warrant at the man’s home in West Ryde on 28 January 2020. Investigators seized numerous electronic devices, including digital cameras and memory cards, in addition to travel documents, diaries and handwritten notes allegedly linked to criminal behaviour in the Philippines.

AFP investigators charged the man with:

  • Using a carriage to access child abuse material contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • Two counts of engaging in sexual activity (other than sexual intercourse) with a child under the age of 16 years outside Australia contrary to section 272.9(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • Two counts of the aggravated offence of – producing child abuse material outside Australia on three occasions with two or more people contrary to section 273.7 of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • Using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material contrary to section 474.19(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

AFP Senior Officer to the Philippines, Detective Superintendent Andrew Perkins said international partnerships were critical to law enforcements’ combined efforts to protect children.

“Collaborative cross-border efforts to protect children in the Philippines has significantly increased since the establishment of the PICACC, of which the AFP is a partner to,” Detective Superintendent Perkins said.

“The AFP and its international partners will continue to work tirelessly to target anyone who seeks to exploit children.”

AUSTRAC National Manager Jon Brewer said, “This sentencing demonstrates the key role financial intelligence plays in discovering and prosecuting child sex offenders and protecting vulnerable children”.

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 or report online.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protection children online can be found at ThinkUKnow, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

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