Mildura man sentenced for multiple material child abuse offenses

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A Victorian man has been convicted, after pleading guilty to a series of online child abuse offences.

Victoria’s Joint Child Exploitation Team, made up of members of the AFP and Victoria Police, launched its investigation into the 42-year-old Mildura man in January 2022.

Police identified that the man was using the Kik messaging app to transmit, solicit and distribute child exploitation material, including videos and images under two usernames between September and October 2021.

On February 24, 2022, JACET detectives executed a search warrant at the man’s home in Mildura and seized phones, hard drives and USB devices, as well as a laptop and computer tower .

Detectives later confirmed that the man had posed as a woman to solicit child pornography.

The man also requested child exploitation material to trade with other allegedly adult users on the platform.

The man was sentenced to 24 months in prison, fully suspended, after appearing at Mildura Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday October 26, 2022).

The Mildura man was also given a three-year recognizance order.

AFP Senior Officer Mark Sharer said AFP, along with its state and territory law enforcement partners, remains committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our community – our children.

“Anyone viewing this material is committing a crime,” he said.

“Our message to online offenders is that if you acquire, access and transmit child pornography, you will be found, arrested and prosecuted.

“This is not a victimless crime. Every child abuse image is a crime scene photo of a sexual assault and sharing them only serves to encourage and embolden abusers. Children are not not commodities to be used for the heinous gratification of sexual predators.

The man pleaded guilty to the following offenses after appearing in court on Friday, October 21, 2022:

• 1 count – Accessing child pornography contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);

• 1 count – Transmitting child pornography to oneself, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);

• 1 count – Solicitation of child pornography contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iv) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);

• 1 count – Distributing child pornography contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);

• 1 count – Possession of child pornography contrary to Section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

AFP and its partners are committed to ending child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Center for Combating Child Exploitation is leading a collaborative national approach to tackle child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in one central hub, supporting investigations of online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about those involved in child abuse and exploitation are asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report.

If you know abuse is happening at the moment or a child is in danger, call the police immediately on 000.

A study conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 found that only about half of parents talk to their children about online safety.

An award-winning podcast launched last year by the ACCCE’Closing of the Net’ is working to change that, showing that knowledge is power and that our only chance to help prevent this problem is if we provide a ‘community-wide’ response.

The podcast series offers valuable advice and tips on how to keep children safe online. Listen to the Closing The Net podcast on your favorite streaming platform.

If you or someone you know is affected by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

Advice and support for parents and guardians on how they can help protect children online is available at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an educational program run by AFP and designed to prevent sexual exploitation children online.

Note to media:

Use of the term ‘CHILD ABUSE’ MATERIAL AND NOT ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’ The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was part of amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on the victims.

The use of the term “child pornography” is inaccurate and benefits child sex offenders because it: o indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser ; and o conjures up images of children posing in “provocative” positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Each photograph or video captures a real situation where a child has been abused.

Media inquiries:

AFP media: (02) 5126 9297

Connect to AFP: Follow our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, instagram and Youtube pages to find out more about what AFP is doing to keep Australia safe.

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