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Five years prison for recidivist offender

A call for action to
stop sexual violence against
women and children.

Media Release 20 March 2008

Five years prison for recidivist trader of
child sex abuse images

Stephen Laing, a 25-year old computer technician from West Auckland, was today sentenced in the Waitakere District Court for distributing and possessing child sex abuse images. It was Laing’s fourth conviction for such crimes.

Stop Demand’s founder Denise Ritchie, who has tracked Laing’s offending since 2003 and who was present at today’s sentencing, says the five years prison term handed out today to Laing, the harshest for such crimes, was “fully warranted”.

She said, “Laing has been given every opportunity to stop his offending. Counselling, supervision, and a previous one-year prison sentence appear to have provided no deterrent. His flagrant and persistent participation in the sexual abuse of infants, toddlers and children, the latest charges arising while on bail awaiting sentence for his third conviction, called for a hefty penalty.”

The latest charges related to pictures and movies that included babies as young as six weeks old to children up to 12 years in sexual positions and being sexually abused. The rape of a baby and four-year-old girls were amongst the images Laing promoted and sought, creating the demand for further sexual violence to be committed on vulnerable children. The interactive nature of his offending with like-minded sexual predators was highlighted in his online requests for personalised messages to be displayed in some images, one written on a baby’s diaper, evidence that abusers were custom making images specifically ordered by Laing.

In a letter that was handed to the Court but not read out, Laing purportedly expressed remorse to the Court, to the investigating team and various “people” he had hurt. However, it did not appear that any express remorse was directed to the babies, infants and children violated as a result of his offending.

Men like Laing who fuel the demand by soliciting and trading such material are directly responsible for the ongoing sexual abuse of children necessary to obtain more images. If there were no demand, there would be no supply.


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