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Man sentenced after using fake personas to solicit and transmit child abuse material

South Australia

On 21 December 2022, Judge Davison of the District Court of South Australia sentenced Cameron Bowen for both Commonwealth and state child exploitation offences occurring over a period of more than 5 years.

Mr Bowen was charged with 19 Commonwealth Offences contrary to ss 474.17, 474.19, 474.22, 474.22A, 474.27A and 474.27 of the Criminal Code (Cth) where he used a carriage service to send messages to 22 child victims via the direct messaging feature on the Instagram application. Mr Bowen used at least 5 different Instagram accounts of fictitious personas and those accounts displayed pictures of persons who were not Mr Bowen. During the course of these conversations, Mr Bowen solicited and caused the transmission to himself of child pornography and child abuse material and sent indecent and offensive communications to the victims. He also used the Instagram direct messaging feature to exchange child abuse material with another child sex offender.

Mr Bowen was also charged with one state offence contrary to s 50 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) for maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a female child victim, who was aged between 14 and 16 years old at the time.

While posing as a 19 year old male, Mr Bowen persistently communicated with the victim online to compel her to engage in unlawful sexual acts while taking photos and videos of her engaging in those acts. Mr Bowen then directed the victim to send those photos and videos to him. Mr Bowen made arrangements to meet with the victim in person on 2 occasions although neither of those occasions eventuated in a meeting.

At sentence, the victim the subject of the state offence prepared a victim impact statement which described the significant impact Mr Bowen’s offending conduct had on her, particularly during such a vulnerable stage in her life.

Over 800 files depicting child abuse material were saved to devices owned by Mr Bowen who accessed these files over a period of almost 5 years.

In her judgment, Judge Davison described Mr Bowen’s conduct as ‘depraved and sadistic’ noting some of the child abuse material possessed was at the highest end of the range of seriousness.

Her Honour also noted that the images and videos of the victims would remain in cyberspace resulting in further degradation and exploitation of the victims.

Mr Bowen pleaded guilty to 19 Commonwealth offences and one state offence.

Mr Bowen was sentenced to a total sentence of 11 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 5 years for Commonwealth offences and 6 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 3 years and 6 months for the state offence.

The matter was prosecuted by the CDPP after an investigation and referral by the Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET).