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Australian Accused Of Running International Ring - Child Porn Arrests

One of four Australians arrested in an international child pornography sting is accused of running an internet chatroom where images of tens of thousands of abuse victims were exchanged.
The Australians are among 29 people charged in four countries after an international investigation spanning eight months.
Officials in the United States say streamed videos of live molestations and photos of victims as young as 18 months were swapped by members of the ring.
"These are the worst imaginable forms of child pornography," US Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales said following the arrests of the four Australians, 13 Americans, 10 Canadians and two Britons.
"This international undercover investigation revealed an insidious network that engaged in worldwide trafficking in child pornography," Mr Gonzales said.
More arrests are expected.
Queensland police say a 38-year-old Brisbane man is believed to have been an administrator of the pornography swapping chatroom, which gave him the power to decide who accessed the images.
Police allege he had an estimated 80,000 images in his possession.
He has been charged, under the Queensland Criminal Code, with possession and distribution of child explotation material.
Australian federal Police (AFP) also laid child pornography-related charges against a 22-year-old man from the Brisbane suburb of Stafford, and a 30-year-old man from Bennett's Green in NSW.
A 55-year-old man from Mill Park in Victoria has been summonsed to appear in court at a later date.
Australian police have been involved in the investigation since late last month but it has been under way internationally since May last year.
US officials say the internet chat room- operated by a person who allegedly went by the name G.O.D.- used minors to produce porn and then made it available to others through the Internet.
The investigation began when a Canadian woman overheard two children talking and reported their conversation to police.
AFP special operations manager Peter Drennan said it was possible more Australians could be involved.


Geelong Advertiser (17-3-2006)
Paul Osborne/ Rosemary Desmond


 

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Australians Key In Child Porn Horror

A Melbourne man has been implicated in a global child pornography ring in which victims are molested live to air.
The 55-year-old man from Mill Park is accused of being involved in online chat rooms in which images of the abuse are beamed internationally.
The new form of abuse is known as "molestation on demand".
Australians are accused of being organisers for the porn ring in which adults are shown having sex with children and toddlers.
They allegedly served as administrators for online chat rooms called "kiddypics" and kiddyvids".
The Mill Park man has been charged on summons with two child-porn related counts.
Some members of the ring- including Australians- allegedly took turns hosting a "peer-to-peer" file-sharing program, which enabled group members to access child pornography and watch the live video streams.
They traded in the "worst imaginable forms of child pornography", according to US Attorney General Albert Gonzales.
Police in Australia have charged the Mill Park man, a 22-year-old from Stafford in Queensland, a 38-year-old former school teacher in Brisbane and a 30-year-old man from the NSW town of Bennett's Green over the US bust.
Australian Federal police hinted that further arrests could be made in Australia.
Chat rooms members,including one woman, watched online as one US man made live streaming video of himself sexually molesting an infant. Another man transmitted the live images of himself abusing four children aged under 12.
Investigators were shocked by this new method of child abuse, said Julie Myers, the assistant secretary of the US immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
"Molestation on demand and an ever-younger and more defenceless group of child victims are two of the most disturbing trends... this case has both," said Ms Myers.
Seven victims, including an 18-month-old and a seven-year-old girl, have already been identified.
No Australian children are believed to be invloved.
US authorities have accused the Australian from NSW of receiving the images. He's been charged by the AFP and is due in court on April 27.
The Australians and 23 others from the US, Canada and Britain were arrested after an undercover investigation involving the FBI, AFP and other major international law enforcement bodies.
Canadian investigators were first to discover the network.
The chat rooms were highly secretive and guarded passwords and special rules designed to block non-members from viewing the images, according to documents released in the US yesterday.
Group members were wary of newcomers and often discussed ways to avoid been caught.
Mr Gonzales praised the work of the AFP and other investigators.
AFP Federal Agent Peter Drennan said investigations were continuing.
The 22-year-old Queensland man is due before Brisbane Magistrates' Court on April 7.


Herald Sun (17-3-2006)
Adam Harvey/ Nick Butterly


Australian Accused Of Running International Ring - Innocence Lost

It is every parents worst nightmare. Having their child's innocence taken away by a sexual predator.
Sadly it is a reality Geelong families face every year.
Between July, 2005, and January the Geelong Police Sexual Offences Unit deal with 114 reported cases, including 25 reported rapes.
Many of the cases involve children.
Spend any length of time in the Geelong Law Courts Complex and you will undoubtedly hear a tale of pedophlia, sexual abuse or sexual crime.
Dozens of sex offenders passed through our courts last year- the most prominent was former Geelong Gramar tutor Phillipe Trutmann.
His was the too often told story of a person using a position of trust to take advantage of innocent children. Between 1985 and 1995 Trutmann crept into the bedrooms of 41 young boarders at the prestigious school and masturbated them while they slpet.
In sentencing Trutmann to six-and-a-half-years' jail last year, County Court Judge John Smallwood said Trutmann had committed the "grossest" breach of trust, a breach that often resulted in irreparable damage.
Just weeks earlier in the same courtroom, Judge Smallwood said the actions of another pedophile- Noel Enes Francis were "as ugly as it gets".
Among his crimes, which occurred between 1975 and 1985, Francis, a school cleaner, fondled the genitals of a six-year-old in a school and paid another victim to keep quiet.
Francis, who pleaded guilty to sexual penetration of a person under 16, indecent assault and common law assault, was described by the judge as "almost the dictionary definition of a pedophile".
"Subjecting pre-pubescent boys to this sort of conduct... this man is a pedophile," Judge Smallwood said.
The term pedophile was coined by Vienna psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in 1896 to describe someone who had a sexual interest in children.
As recent as the early 1980's Victorian authorities, including senior police, had no idea a pedophile problem existed.
It was after meetings between St Kilda sergeant Cheryl McArdle and young male prostitutes in her precinct that police realised that a problem existed. The boys on the streets, some as young as nine, had been raped and abused by older men.
After convincing senior police there was a problem, a taskforce was established to investigate pedophilia and child pornography in Victoria.
Wayne Carson, who is now Geelong's Cheif Inspector, was a sergeant with a background in homicide when he joined the taskforce.
Under the assumed name of Greg Daniels, Cheif Insp Carson played a key role in bringing to light the prominence of pedophilia in Australia.
It was a discovery that would shock.
The front pages of newspapers were filled with details of arrests and court cases. Perhaps the most shocking detail revealed respectable members of the community perpetrated the acts. Teachers, clergy, major car dealers were among those caught in the ring.
"I mean, we actually found the word," Chief Insp Carson said.
"I don't think anyone used to talk about pedophiles- there was no such thing."
Chief Insp Carson, then aged 34 and a father of three young children, was shocked by what he saw.
His role was to establish contact with pedophiles and get them to tell their secrets.
He would scan ads in homosexual magazines and soon learned the lingo like 'chicken farmers looking for small wings'.
Chief Insp Carson then met the men individually and at group meetings.
"We infiltrated those groups over a period of some months, eventually we ended up charging all," Chief Insp Carson said.
While he said the work was not dangerous, the risk of being exposed was great.
Being accused of entrapment was another hurdle Chief Insp Carson faced.
"It was very challenging to do that because you didn't want to throw out the evidence, because of something you said. I always never, ever committed myself to anything.
"Never really pushed it. So the process was always a long process. It would take months to actually get the confidence of people because I didn't want to be pushing them. The suspect or the offender had to volunteer whatever he was going to."
Chief Insp Carson would set up meetings in hotels where pedophiles would show him their photos and books.
"There are some sick people, very sick people," she said.
He soon learned pedophiles loved to record intimate details about their victims.
"Is it a sense of achievement, a challenge and the memory," he said of the reasons for them recording details.
"There was one bloke in Queensland. We found huge filing cabinets full of drop files. Each drop file was the name of a boy. In each drop file there was every particular of that kid you could ever imagine.
The taskforce was hugely successful, arresting 104 people in relation to about 400 offences.
Soon, special units were formed within the Victoria Police to combat sexual crime.
In Geelong, the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Unit is in charge of combating sexual crime.
The unit has investigated cases involving children aged as young as 10 committing sexual offences.
Sexual Offences Unit's Senior Sergeant Peter Miller said as well as current rapes and sexual offences, many cases involved abuse that happened in the past.
He said media coverage of pedophilia had led many victims abused in years gone by to come forward.
It is a tough, but not impossible task for police to prosecute these matters, Sen-Sgt Miller said.
"We tell people straight away when they come here that we will do everything in our power to get this matter before the court," Sen-Sgt Miller said.
"However, there are certainly no guarantees. Particularly with the history stuff, we need them to do a lot of ground work for us."
Modern day matters like internet child pornography also occupy a large percentage of the unit's time.
"Certainly, in the last two years, we have lots and lots of offenders charged with child porn here. It is just so readily accessible," he said.
"That is a situation that needs to be looked at more."
It is hard for him to put a finger on what is the typical sexual offender, but from his experience, the stereotype of a teacher or priest isn't always true.
"We have had other people that are in the same upper rung of society but not so much teachers and priests," he said.
"I guess when I look at a typical offender, the majority of cases that we get here are people over 30 years of age. The majority are male and a large percentage of them are known to the victim."
But among those interviewed last year a 14-year-old female babysitter and two grandmothers accused of abusing their grandsons.
Perhaps even more disturbing, three boys aged under 10 were interviewed over an alleged incident in a laneway. Persons under 10 can not be charged in Victoria.
According to Pam O'Neill, co-ordinator of the Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assualt, sexually predatory behaviour involving children is not as rare as one might think.
She said children had been known to exhibit sexually predatory behaviour as young as six.
They often choose the first available victim, someone in the home setting, Ms O'Neill said.
Psychologist and Barwon CASA counsellor Sarah Joyce said a child who begins sexualised behaviour at eight could have as many as four victims by the age of 14 years. She said the abuser would usually begin by grooming their victim, someone smaller and weaker than them. They would resort to bribes and threats to get their victim to do what they wanted.
She said the abuser would also be in denial of how bad their actions were.
Ms O'Neill said many children who abused others were victims of sexual abuse themselves. She said parents and others noticing the behaviour often dismissed them, saying they would grow out of it. But she said without intervention, it was unlikely the behaviour would change.
"It is about trying to find new ways for them to meet their needs," Ms O'Neill said.
"To help them develop an empathy with what their victim is feeling."


Geelong Advertiser (18-3-2006)
Daniel Fogarty





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