Monday, April 22, 2024

Man jailed for child abuse images following Customs bust

A Customs investigation has resulted in jail time for a 33-year-old Auckland man, who was today sentenced in Auckland District Court for 32 charges relating to the possession and sharing of objectionable material including those depicting child sexual abuse.

The man had uploaded, or exported, a significant number of images and videos depicting child sexual abuse, and bestiality involving both adults and children, to an overseas based social media platform. These uploads were detected by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a US-based non-governmental agency, which alerted Customs to the offending. 

Further enquiries led to Customs identifying the man’s home address. On 2 February 2022, Customs executed a search warrant in Mount Wellington, Auckland, and he was arrested on site. Three electronic devices were recovered. Analysis by Customs electronic forensic investigators found objectionable material on all the seized devices, some of which had been shared with other users of an online messaging app.   

The man was found to be an active member of multiple online groups where members would share publications depicting extreme sexual acts, including many involving animals. 

Chief Customs Officer – Child Exploitation Operations Team, Simon Peterson says Customs is committed to identifying individuals at the earliest opportunity to disrupt this type of offending. 

“The fact this material is shared online does not reduce its impact on the victims – it is all abuse, with children re-victimised every time material showing their abuse is viewed and shared, and the demand this offending then creates for new images and new victims,” he said.

“Customs and our law enforcement as well as non-profit partners in New Zealand and overseas are watching closely for people who view and share child sexual abuse material. This sentencing is a result of those partnerships and the hard work and determination of the investigators involved.” 

The man was sentenced to a jail term of four years and four months.

If you have concerns or suspicions about someone who may be trading in, or producing child sexual abuse images or videos, contact Customs confidentially on 0800 WE PROTECT (0800 937 768) or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

If you are, or know of, someone who is at risk or being abused, contact the Police immediately.

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