Saturday, June 7, 2008

Australian Authorities Need To Lift Their Act - Child Porn Offenders Escape Jail Sentences Far Too Often! (Teacher Commits Suicide)

This article is in follow-up to my 5th June post about the recent Child Porn Arrests in Australia. It is also to harshly criticise the Australian law system's extremely 'light' sentencing that has histrocally been handed down for these sorts of crimes (with some real statistics following below). One can only hope that the authorities get serious this time and put these sick people away for a very long time - let them fend for themselves in an Australian prison where crimes against children are abhorred.

Firstly - One of the Australian Teachers commits suicide after major child porn bust.

SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian teacher killed himself and another attempted suicide after they were caught up in a major police swoop on Internet child pornography, reports said Friday.

The men were questioned by police as part of a crackdown on a global pornography racket which has seen more than 90 people charged in Australia, including four teachers and many others with access to children.

The Australian newspaper said a 59-year-old teacher from Queensland state had committed suicide after being charged on two counts.

A 48-year-old primary school teacher, who had digitally superimposed the faces of his students onto the images, was taken to hospital late Thursday after what was believed to be a suicide attempt, the paper said.

Queensland police confirmed that a man who had been charged as part of the operation had died but would not comment on the cause of death.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Friday described the reach of the global child pornography racket as sickening after police said it included men of all ages and walks of life.
"This is enough to make your stomach turn when you look at the number of people who by these reports have been involved," Rudd told Nine Network television.

A police officer, a junior sports coach and several people working with children were among those charged over child sex images published by a hacker on a European website some six months ago.

The 99 child porn photographs, the subject of an Interpol-led probe involving 170 countries, attracted 12 million hits in just 76 hours and some of those hits were traced to 2,800 computers in Australia.

Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said charges were laid against two more people late Thursday following raids which seized computers from homes and he expected 70 to 80 more people to be charged in the next two weeks.

"The other aspect that we follow up is that apart from the material that we have information about that's been downloaded, is whether the people concerned have other images of child pornography too," Atkinson said Friday.

"In fact one person had 7,000 images."

Investigators have removed four Australian children from their homes as a result of the crackdown.

The police officer involved, 38-year-old Michael Edward Hatch, pleaded guilty on Thursday to possessing child pornography. He is due to face a sentencing hearing Friday.

The maximum penalty is 10 years in jail.

An Australian federal police agent searching for child pornography.
An Australian teacher killed himself and another attempted suicide
after they were caught up in a major police swoop on Internet child pornography.


6th June, 2008

THE abuse of children is being fuelled by hierarchical online pedophile networks which reward those who supply their own fresh images of child exploitation with access to even more material.

Speaking as police revealed disturbing new details about Operation Centurion, the nationwide investigation into internet child porn which has nabbed 90 alleged Australian offenders, the federal police commissioner, Mick Keelty, said the crime type was experiencing "exponential growth".

"To get into the [child porn trading] network, you have to actually prove yourself," he said.

"To get in you've actually got to be supplying something yourself to the scheme, to the system, and that means more children will be abused."

The scale of online social networks of pedophiles has shocked law officers, with no greater example than the event that triggered the investigation into more than 1500 Australians who accessed an obscure, legitimate European website.

The website was hacked into and 99 explicit images of naked girls in degrading poses placed on it. In the three days the images were up, it was deluged with 12 million hits by almost 150,000 different computer IP addresses from 170 countries, including more than 2800 from Australia.

The website's address had been posted in pedophile chat rooms.

Seventy Australians have been arrested for child porn possession offences and a further 20 have been issued summonses to appear in court. Several of those arrested have been charged with rape and four children removed from harm after the initial probes into the 99 images uncovered reams of additional material.

All up, a million images have been seized around Australia.
"Some of the images involved adults as well as children," Mr Keelty said. "The children range from babies to 18 years of age."

Police said yesterday that many more arrests were expected to be made. Queensland Police, who have one of the world's most highly regarded online child protection units, said yesterday they expected to double their current level of 40 arrests.

Four of those arrested in Queensland were teachers and a further six had access to "blue cards", clearing them to work with children.

One of the teachers, Rodney James Tavener of Bethania, was taken from his home yesterday handcuffed by ambulance officers. Police were seen taking away ornamental swords from his outer suburban Brisbane home. Tavener allegedly superimposed the images of his students on to existing child abuse photos, while putting his own face on to that of the perpetrators of the acts.

Many of those arrested have access to children in their occupations.

Those arrested also include a banker, a farmer, a federal policeman and the former head of Western Australia's volunteers association. The policeman, Michael Edward Hatch of Belconnen, has pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and appeared in court yesterday for sentencing. The matter was adjourned.

In Melbourne, an executive of a youth training company, Stephen de Rozario, 41, of West Footscray, is among 17 Victorians charged with possessing child pornography obtained over the internet.

Some of those charged have previous histories of child abuse, including one NSW man who was on parole for sex offences. While there are calls for tougher sentences on child pornography and abuse offences, the Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, said even harsher sentences may not stop some pedophiles.

"The fact that people are being caught with hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of images of abuse proves that the threat of long jail terms isn't enough to stop people," he said.

"The focus needs to be on making sure police can keep up to date with emerging technologies which allow pedophiles to operate without detection. That's the real challenge."



Note: The following information was published PRIOR to the latest operation and arrests by the AFP.

In 2006, ONLY 15 of more than 100 NSW men charged in Australia's (then) biggest child pornography crackdown are behind bars, even though almost all of them had been found guilty.

Police documents obtained by The Sun-Herald showed prosecutors won 79 of the 102 cases that had been through the courts. In all, 11 were sentenced to jail and four to periodic detention, but most of those who received jail sentences had them suspended. Many others escaped with fines and bonds.

Department of Corrective Services Assistant Commissioner Luke Grant said many jail sentences being dealt out to child pornographers were too short to allow sufficient time for rehabilitation.

"Part of the problem is that [child offenders] are not getting long enough sentences," Mr Grant said. A term of less than 12 months limited opportunities to work with offenders.

As Federal Police made raids on Australians suspected of using what US officials called "the worst imaginable forms of child pornography", Opposition police spokesman Mike Gallacher condemned the courts for their treatment of those charged under Operation Auxin. "They are the weak link in the chain - letting the community down, letting the cops down, letting the kids down," Gallacher said.

High-profile police raids across the nation, known as Operation Auxin, were launched after a tip-off from US authorities. Federal police described the charges as the "tip of the iceberg". One source close to the investigation said some of the images police had found from the former Soviet state of Belarus had never been shown publicly, but clearly showed children suffering. "No reasonable person could look at those images and not see the pain and distress on their faces," the source said. Some children were believed to have been kidnapped off the street.

Four men who have been put behind bars were given periodic detention, including David Cope-Williams, a career soldier who was reported to have had an unblemished military record. At the time of his conviction, it was reported that magistrate Elizabeth Corbett appeared visibly uncomfortable when viewing evidence that Cope-Williams possessed 10,520 photographs of girls as young as five being sexually abused and raped by groups of hooded men. He received eight months' jail with a six-month non-parole period, reduced on appeal to periodic detention.

When Operation Auxin hit headlines, NSW Parliament reacted swiftly, voting unanimously in late 2004 to more than double, from two years to five, jail terms for anyone caught with child pornography. "The Government is sending a clear message to the courts that child pornography should not be tolerated," Attorney-General Bob Debus told Parliament. But those spoken to by The Sun-Herald said the courts had not heeded that call. Not one sentence in Local Courts or District Courts as a result of the Auxin raids has reached the maximum, partly because prosecutors had opted to send cases to the Local Court, where a maximum penalty of only two years could be handed down.

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures show it has been five times easier to go to jail for stealing a car than for looking at child pornography. In 2004, 314 of 781 penalties for car theft resulted in imprisonment. Following Auxin, magistrates opted to suspend the vast majority of jail terms.

Chief Magistrate Derek Price took the unusual step of defending the record of courts. "The seriousness of a suspended sentence should not be underestimated, as offenders are imprisoned for breaching the conditions of such a sentence," he told The Sun-Herald.

Auxin's first arrest in NSW, Bible studies teacher Stephen Laws, was sentenced to 43 months jail after police found images on his computer of under-aged girls in sexual acts. It was cut to 34 months on appeal. Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive Joe Tucci feared judges had "taken the line that it's not abuse and it's not exploitative because there weren't any visible victims". "The outcome is that it has sent a confused message to the community about this being as serious as it was initially made out to be," he said.

Mr Debus claimed vindication for changing the laws, saying only 11 Auxin offenders had been convicted because they committed their crimes since the beginning of 2005. Five received custodial sentences, although only three were full-time. "This early trend . . . is very encouraging," he said.


- Auxin investigations began in February 2004 but took six months to peak with co-ordinated execution of hundreds of warrants and arrests across Australia.

- 644 child pornography offences have been identified and 399 men are or have been the subject of prosecutions.

- Most have been charged with offences relating to possession, production, sale or dissemination of child pornographic or child-abuse material.

- More than 2 million images and 200 computers have been seized.

- Auxin was the result of information supplied by US Customs based on their discovery of a global child pornography racket in the Belarus capital, Minsk.

- Police have launched action in relation to more than 1000 internet subscribers in 12 countries.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn! TEACHERS????