Online groomer who 'collected' child abuse material says he was not aroused by it

Key points:

  • Michael Young pleaded guilty to possessing child exploitation material
  • His lawyer said he was not aroused by the images
  • The judge questioned his motive considering his online chats

A South Australian judge has questioned claims made by an online child groomer that he was not sexually aroused by his "collection" of child abuse images and videos but got addicted to "that material".

Michael Wayne Young, 31, is awaiting sentencing in the District Court after pleading guilty to possessing child exploitation material and grooming children online.

He was arrested by the Australian Federal Police last August after a tip-off from Canadian authorities.

The court was told that police did not analyse all of the 72,000 videos and images found on his phone but more than 2,000 viewed by investigating officers depicted child abuse.

Gerry Bowen, for Young, today told the court that his client was not sexually aroused by the images and videos.

He also said Young had been receiving treatment for his anxiety associated with his arrest and prosecution, but not for his addiction to child exploitation material.

But Judge Liesl Chapman interrupted, asking what insight Young had into his offending.

"He had tens of thousands of images and videos — why did he have that child exploitation material?," she asked.

Mr Bowen replied: "He just collected it."

Judge questions motive

Judge Chapman said that submission "flies in the face" of the nature of the online chats he was having with children as he sought to create an "imbalance of power" with young girls.

"It really goes to the heart of whether he has insight into his offending," she said.

"Why he was communicating with young people in this way and why he had such a collection of material on his electronic device — you don't just collect that material."

Mr Bowen said his client "got into a chat group and got deeper and deeper" into the world of child exploitation.

He said Young became "desensitised" to the material and his interest became "more extreme".

"He expressed himself in this way, in this character," he said.

The court was told Young told a psychologist that he should be jailed for his "deviant behaviour".

Prosecutors have asked for Young to be jailed, but Mr Bowen asked the court to suspend any prison term imposed.

The case was then adjourned for two weeks so Mr Bowen could seek information about whether he has received any psychological treatment for his addiction to child abuse material.


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