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Father jailed for possessing child sex abuse images

14 April 2014

Father jailed for possessing child sex abuse images

A father who admitted possessing hundreds of objectionable videos and images of children stored on his computer was sentenced to 12 months in jail in the Palmerston North District Court on Friday 11 April.

Conan McClelland, a 35 year old Palmerston North auto-electrical mechanic, who is married with a young child, was tracked down by the Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs. He pleaded guilty to 29 representative charges of possessing objectionable material.

Community Safety Manager, Steve O’Brien, said inspectors found a total of 984 images and 383 videos of an objectionable nature on McClelland's computer including some of children involved in acts of sadism and bestiality and taking part in sexual activities with other children.

An inspector recognised some of the children as victims previously identified in United States’ investigations.

“Internal Affairs is an active participant in the international role of victim identification of child sexual abuse in accordance with the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online to which the New Zealand Government has committed to in December 2012,” said Mr O’Brien.

“The copying and viewing of such images perpetuates the damage done to these victims.”

“Our investigation showed that the defendant had been using file sharing software for four years. He downloaded explicit images and videos for two years before deleting his collection, but started it again shortly afterwards. He told us he downloaded ‘everything, all ages’ until he was discovered.”

One video featured a child believed to be between eight and nine years old when the film was made.

McClelland had co-operated with the investigation, providing passwords to his computer and programmes.

The court was told the defendant’s previous good character, his remorse and guilty plea were taken into account in setting the sentence.

Mr O’Brien said the case sends a strong message that downloading images of child sexual abuse is a serious crime, requiring a serious response.

“Children are the real victims in these cases. The Department continues its vigilance to protect child victims and to detect and hold people accountable for these crimes. People who indulge in this objectionable practice on the Internet in the safety of their homes and think they are safe should think again.”

• Media are urged to use the terminology ‘child sexual abuse images’ or ‘child objectionable material’, and not ‘child pornography’. Child sexual abuse is NOT pornography. The use of the word downplays child sexual abuse.

• The word pornography indicates legitimacy and compliance on victim’s part, suggesting legality on abuser’s part. These are criminal acts and each act is a crime scene.

• Most of the public is unaware of the seriousness of this type of offending which includes images of oral, vaginal and anal sex, sometimes bondage, bestiality and sexual torture.

• Every publication of these images promotes the sexual exploitation of children and young people and often portrays actual child abuse occurring at the time. This is not pornography. These are images of criminal acts.



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