He was a child star but all for the wrong reasons.
He made his debut at just 22-months old - not for a toy store advertisement or even a family friendly PG film. This was for hardcore global pornographic syndication.
He would be filmed being sexually abused by his “adoptive parents” and at least eight other pedophiles in Australia, France, Germany and the United States.
His horrific introduction to the insidious world of pedophilia dated back to 2005 when his Russian mother sold him for $8,000 to a member of Boy Lovers – a sophisticated global network of men whose sexual preference are boys aged between six and eight years old.
The boy was “adopted” by American Mark J Newton who lived in Brisbane and Cairns with his Australian boyfriend, Peter Truong.
Such was the extent of the abuse, the boy, who will be called Adam for legal reasons, grew up believing the abuse and exploitation was a natural part of his daily existence.
Newton even coached Adam on how to deny any inappropriate activity if questioned by investigators.
He was so indoctrinated that when interviewed by a queue of US experts, Adam did not reveal the severe sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his “parents” and the Boy Lovers network.
Queensland Police Taskforce Argos, which targets pedophiles, also fear the same techniques may have been used on several other children who came into contact with the men.
Newton and Truong’s secret life began to unravel at a New Zealand home in August 2011 when a fan of their work and fellow sex offender was arrested with computer drives containing “happy snaps” of Adam and his parents among images of child exploitation.
To the untrained eye, the pictures depicted a family outing, but to a network of veteran detectives the snaps triggered grave concern.
“On examination of the drives, they located some of the images – whilst they were not of a nature that would constitute a criminal offence, to the trained eye, and there is a network of investigators across the world who do this on a daily basis, the images were not what you would see as a traditional family snap,’’ said Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, head of Queensland police Taskforce Argos which targets pedophilia.
“The pictures were kind of modeling shots, it looked wrong to us,” said Inspector Rouse in an exclusive.
However a detectives’ hunch was not sufficient for a search warrant but it was enough for both Argos and New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs to launch an investigation.
Argos conducted background checks and used their specialist victim identification staff to identify who the people were in the photos and locate the boy. At the same time New Zealand authorities examined chat logs and information contained on their offender’s hard drives.
“The information and text from those logs was the catalyst to gain grounds for a search warrant. The text clearly indicated communication between the suspects (Truong and Newton) and other child sex offenders where the child had been sexually abused and the material live-streamed in some cases to these other offenders,’’ Insp Rouse said.
Further checks revealed Truong and Newton had travelled extensively, and at that time, had left Queensland for the US.
Argos conducted several raids in Queensland including the men’s Cairns home where they found a sophisticated set-up of surveillance cameras.
Concerned for Adam’s welfare, Queensland police alerted their US counterparts who raided the men’s Los Angeles home and took them into custody and placed Adam into care in October 2011.
“Now the information we provided them at the time was tantamount to what you would call the smoke but not the gun. We had our concerns, the chat logs and material but it was not enough for the US authorities to actually prosecute the two men. It was enough, however, for us to ensure that the young boy was kept in care…’’ he said.
The police raids in north Queensland uncovered a significant volume of material but it was encrypted and Argos investigators did not have the pass phrases to unlock it.
Using the material that was not encrypted, the taskforce victim identification team spent months piecing together a timeline of the men’s life.
“These two individuals were meticulous about cataloging nearly everything they did, all of their travel. The young boy featured very heavily in most of this material. Everything from airports to theme parks….they documented everything which was to their detriment,’’ he said.
The information also helped police identify some of their associates.
“So the backend of all this work being done, we had encrypted material we had a strong suspicion contained child exploitation images. We had a boy in care and the two offenders at large in Los Angeles protesting their innocence and the matter progressing through the (US) Family Law Court,’’ Insp Rouse said.
At the time Newton and Truong claimed authorities were targeting them because of their homosexuality.
Insp Rouse rejected the men’s claims saying Argos targets anyone who harms children.
"If you're harming a child - I don't care what your gender is - we will take action. Our interest is the child, not your sexual preference."
Through their strong ties with their overseas counterparts, Argos learned the US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) was investigating the Boy Lover network.
USPIS investigator Brian Bone was alerted to the photos of Adam found on the New Zealand offender and recognised he was the same boy who featured pornographic footage and images uncovered in several of their investigations.
Argos sent all of the evidence they had collected to the US along with the technique Newton and Truong, both computer experts, had used to encrypt their hard drives.
The men were arrested in February last year.