Internal affairs cracks international child abuse case
Internal affairs investigation cracks international child abuse case
The jailing of an Australian man
for 40 years in the US for sexually abusing a young boy was
the direct result of an Investigation by New Zealand’s
Department of Internal Affairs.
The 42 year old man bought a baby boy for $US8000 (NZ$10,321) with his partner, sexually abused the child and traded him to other paedophiles to abuse.
He and his male partner, who lived in Cairns, Australia, were tracked down by authorities after being tipped off by the Censorship Compliance team at Internal Affairs which investigates on-line child sex abuse.
"Rescuing and protecting children from this vile trade is what it's all about," says senior Internal Affairs’ investigator, Jon Peacock. "This investigation began in the Wellington region, but the web of abuse took on an international perspective with offences being discovered in France, Germany, America, and Australia."
The case was sparked by Mr Peacock's experienced eye, when he noted something suspicious about a series of photos of a six year old boy stored on the computer of a man in a separate investigation.
"The photos were several studio or professional shots of the boy in what appeared to be artistic poses," says Mr Peacock, Team Leader, Censorship Compliance. "However the poses and the way he looked into the camera were unusual and tipped me off that something may have been badly wrong. My first thought was I wanted to contact the boy's parents or guardians to figure out if they knew such photos were being taken."
Using clues to the boy's identity from photos and video the investigation team linked the case to Queensland and involved Australian enforcement colleagues.
Further inquiry uncovered evidence of offending and authorities in the US were also involved.
The international investigation led to this weekend’s sentencing of the boy’s guardian. The man’s partner has also pleaded guilty and is due to be sentenced later this year.
''For more than one year and across three continents, these men submitted this young child to some of the most heinous acts of exploitation that this office has ever seen,'' Indiana US Attorney Joe Hogsett said after the sentencing.
Mr Peacock says: “Our small unit at Internal Affairs is building an international reputation for work in identifying the victims of child abuse. It is immensely satisfying that our work led to the cracking of a network like this, and working collaboratively with our overseas colleagues can bring justice in to the lives of victims.”
The US District Court in Indianapolis (Friday US time) heard the two men, who had been living in California, bought the newborn boy in an undisclosed country and used falsified documents in Los Angeles in an attempt to adopt him.
The boy was rescued by US authorities and is being cared for in California.