A 22-year-old Palmyra man accused of posing as a woman online to chat about sexually abusing young children is expected to face Perth Magistrate’s Court today (17 January) after being charged by the WA Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET).
WA JACET launched an investigation in July 2019 after a report from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about a person uploading child abuse material to a social media platform.
The investigation identified the 22-year-old man as the suspected user and a search warrant was executed at his home on 17 December (2019).
A mobile phone was seized during the search and a forensic examination has allegedly identified stored child abuse material, which police allege was saved records of text chats describing the sexual assault of boys and girls.
Investigators also allegedly found on the phone social media account profiles that matched details from the NCMEC report.
WA JACET will allege that between November 2017 and December 2019, the 22-year-old pretended to be a woman on social media to engage in explicit conversations with men in which she discussed the sexual abuse of a teenage girl and young children.
The 22-year-old will face Perth Magistrate’s Court for the first time today (17 January) charged with:
- two counts of transmitting child pornography material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.19 (iii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years imprisonment;
- one count of possession of child exploitation material, contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code Compilation Act 1913 (WA). The maximum penalty for this offence is 7 years imprisonment.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Crime Operations in Perth, Paula Fernandez, said sadly, appetite for child abuse material is increasing globally.
“Child abuse material covers not only videos and photographs, it also includes obscene conversations and fantasies, audio and text depicting children engaged in sexual poses or activity, cartoons, drawings and graphics,” Det. Acting Supt Fernandez said.
“Conversations like those alleged in this case can normalise the harm of children for an adult’s sexual satisfaction and that is abhorrent.
“To those thinking of having these conversations, or accessing or sharing other abusive material – your demand supports a vile industry and leads to children being harmed.
“This arrest should serve as a warning that you are not anonymous online and we are dedicated to tracking you down and bringing you to justice.”
Det. Acting Supt Fernandez said the case should also serve as a reminder that people conversing on social media are not always who they say they are.
Police investigating this matter have not identified any children being abused.
Investigations are ongoing into the men who allegedly engaged in explicit conversations with the 22-year-old.
The WA JACET is a partnership between the Australian Federal Police and the WA Police Force.