The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton has welcomed today’s sentencing of a Victorian man to 12 years in prison for a string of shocking online offences against children as a timely reminder for parents to be aware of their child’s online activities.
The Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET) investigation, named Operation KENKO, found the now 25-year-old man from Somerville on the Mornington Peninsula had set up multiple female online identities to encourage children and teenagers, here and overseas, to self-produce and send him child abuse material.
In many instances, he coerced children to sexually abuse family members and record it.
“This heinous behaviour causes life-long traumatic impacts on those young people and their families, and demonstrates why Australians cannot be complacent to the threat of online predators targeting and hurting our children,” Mr Dutton said.
“I want to congratulate the many officers involved in this investigation. The facts of this case are dreadful and would shock most Australian families.
“The skill and tenacity demonstrated by detectives in the JACET working closely with officers in the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Victim Identification Team resulted in the identification of multiple victims.
As a result 60 referrals were made to domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies where prosecutions are underway in the United States, New Zealand, New South Wales and Victoria.
“Today’s result is a testament to the AFP and its partner agencies continuing their ongoing and tireless work to identify and rescue victims of abuse and bring their perpetrators to justice.
“Their persistence has brought this man to account for his brazen and abhorrent behaviour using everyday social media platforms and will prevent him, and the others he encouraged, from harming any more children in the future,” Mr Dutton said.
The man pled guilty to 30 charges and he will serve at least nine years in prison after sentencing in the Victorian County Court today.
“The fight against child exploitation is sadly going to be an ongoing one. Our commitment to this battle resulted in the establishment of the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) in Brisbane last year,” Mr Dutton said.
“The ACCCE helps support law enforcement in investigations that target and prosecute predators like the man sentenced today and adapt as technology and methods used by offenders evolve.
“It is critical we are aware of the technology our children are using and can talk openly about how they can safely navigate the online environment.”
Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child sexual exploitation and abuse are urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at www.crimestoppers.com.au.
For more information on how to stay safe online, visit www.thinkuknow.org.au.