Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Online grooming and blackmail of girls lands man in gaol

Date of Publication: 
17 November 2014

A 42-year-old Melbourne man who posed online as a teenage boy to groom young girls has been sentenced to six years imprisonment in the County Court of Victoria.

Kent Garrett, also known as Orson Kent, was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) for 29 child grooming-related offences against 17 victims. The trial originally listed to begin on 1 September 2014, ended on 2 September 2014 when Garrett pleaded guilty to all the charges before the trial began.

In the summary of facts presented to the Court by the federal prosecutor, between 2009 and 2012 Garrett was found to have used Facebook, social media and email accounts in multiple fraudulent identities including posing as a teenage boy and also as Justin Bieber, to engage in online communications and relationships with young girls aged between 12 and 15.

Of the 29 charges for breach of the Criminal Code (Cth) pleaded to by Garrett:

  • charges 1-8 were for use of email to groom the victims into sending images of themselves or to threaten them in relation to videos or photos they had previously provided
  • charges 9-12 related to the use of Facebook to solicit images and harass and threaten other users, and
  • the remaining 17 charges related to fake online Justin Bieber accounts Garrett had established to lure girls into sending explicit pictures of themselves.
During the sentencing hearing, Her Honour, Judge Lisa Hannan said Garrett’s offending was planned and calculated and could only be described as disgraceful conduct without any regard to the very real consequences for the child victims. Her Honour said Garrett played on their vulnerability and the fact they believed he was Justin Bieber demonstrated their naivety. Her Honour also noted it was the bravery of one of the victims in coming forward that brought his offending to light.

Garrett will have to serve at least 4 years before being eligible for parole.

The Australian Federal Police conducted the investigation into Kent Garrett with the assistance of overseas authorities.

Media contact: 02 6206 5708

Background

Kent Andrew Garrett pleaded guilty to the following offences:

  • two counts of using carriage service to groom a person under 16 years of age contrary to section 474.27(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
  • nine counts of using carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence contrary to
    section 474.17(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
  • seven counts of accessing child pornography material using a carriage service contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
  • six counts of soliciting child pornography material using a carriage service contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(iv) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
  • three counts of transmitting child pornography material using a carriage service contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
  • one count of causing child pornography material to be transmitted to himself using a carriage service contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
  • one county of using a carriage service to transmit indecent communications to a person believed to be under 16 years of age contrary to section 474.27A(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

About the CDPP – Australia’s Federal Prosecution Service

The Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) is an independent prosecution service established by Parliament to prosecute alleged offences against Commonwealth law.

Commonwealth legislation creates a number of offences relating to child pornography material, child abuse material, and grooming and procuring persons under the age of 16 to engage in, or submit to, sexual activity. In 2013-2014 the CDPP prosecuted over 400 child exploitation charges under the Criminal Code (Cth).

For further information about the prosecution process, see the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.

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