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International operation tracks offender

International operation tracks offender

The combined efforts of international online businesses and government agencies, including the Department of Internal Affairs, led to a Christchurch storeman being convicted on 45 charges of distributing and possessing child sex abuse material.

Scott Andrew Johnston, 47 of Wigram was sentenced to two years five months imprisonment in the Christchurch District Court today after pleading guilty to 25 charges of distributing and 20 charges of possessing objectionable publications.

Microsoft and the United States Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) alerted Internal Affairs to Johnston’s offending in 2012. An Internal Affairs covert Internet investigator engaged Johnston online and was sent objectionable material.

Facebook also detected Johnston uploading objectionable images and again Internal Affairs was advised.

Internal Affairs Community Safety Manager, Steve O’Brien, said the NCMEC received 17 cybertips about Johnston from a variety of social networking and website service providers.

“As a result of Johnston’s continual online interaction on social networking websites Internal Affairs and the Police were able to locate him and seize computer equipment and mobile phones revealing the extent of his offending,” Mr O’Brien said. “A total of 23,873 files
of child abuse pictures and movies were discovered as well as text stories describing preteen, child and incest sexual activity.

“This case shows how the global community, including Internal Affairs, is combatting the child sexual abuse trade. And it’s only a matter of time before people indulging in this activity get caught.”


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