Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Sydney man jailed for online exploitation and extortion of children

Date of Publication: 
12 May 2020

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

A 24-year-old Sydney man has been jailed for nine years and four months after he posed as a teen to exploit and extort explicit images from children online.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) began investigations in February 2019 after receiving information from a member of the public that a person was engaging in sexualised conversations with an Australian teenager through a social media platform.

Subsequent enquiries by the AFP Eastern Command Child Protection Operations identified a then 23-year-old Manly Vale man as being responsible for these conversations.

The man lied about his age and identity to elicit sexually explicit photos from the teenager, and then later threatened to share the images with the teenager’s friends and family if they did not send the man further explicit material.

The teenager reported the information to their parents, who alerted police.

The AFP arrested the Manly Vale man on 20 February 2019 at Sydney International Airport after returning from overseas.

A search warrant was also executed at his Manly Vale residence and he was initially charged with five offences.

After further investigations and forensic examination of devices seized during the February search warrant, investigators identified further child exploitation offences committed by the man.

As a result of these enquiries, officers from the AFP Victim Identification Team identified a further 48 child victims and, in September 2019, charged the man with additional offences.

The man faced a total of 54 charges, including:

  • 29 counts of using a carriage service to solicit child pornography material contrary to s474.19(1) Criminal Code (Cth)
  • Five counts of using a carriage service to transmit child pornography material contrary to s474.19(1) Criminal Code (Cth)
  • 18 counts of using a carriage service to engage in sexual activity with a person under 16 years old contrary to s474.25A(1) Criminal Code (Cth)
  • One count of producing child abuse material contrary to s91H(2) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
  • One count of possessing child abuse material contrary to s91H(2) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)

Today the man was sentenced to nine years and four months in prison, with a non-parole period of six years and four months.

AFP Detective Sergeant Jarryd Dunbar, NSW JACET, said the investigation is a reminder of the importance of making sure children feel comfortable speaking to their parents and police about suspicious online activity.

“We are very thankful that in this case the victim was courageous enough to speak up and let their parents know what had happened, and that the parents encouraged open communication with their child about their online activity,” Detective Sergeant Dunbar said.

“By speaking up, this brave act helped us to identify many other victims and potentially saved further Australian children from harm online.”

The father of the child who approached police said he was glad his child had come forward.

“He, and we, won’t know the full impact this will have on him for many years, if we ever do - it will be there for the rest of his life - what we do know is that by being brave enough to tell and show me [his father] it was immediately stopped. The impact was for him was minimised, the person was caught and he has saved all the future victims from harm," said the man.

His full statement can be read here.

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

The CDPP’s Deputy Director responsible for Human Exploitation and Border Protection, Mark de Crespigny, said the successful prosecution outcome was the result of strong working relationships between partner agencies and those agencies’ commitment to seeing perpetrators of these types of crimes brought to justice.

“This offender’s behaviour involved the prolonged, predatory and deliberate exploitation of vulnerable children, children who had a right to feel safe and secure while using the internet to study, and connect with friends and family, and the sentence delivered today reflects the seriousness of this type of crime,” he said.

“The work the AFP and our other partner agencies do in investigating the sexual exploitation of children is to be commended. The CDPP remains committed to prosecuting those who engage in this type of offending to the full extent possible.”

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.

You can also make a report online by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report.

ThinkUKnow is an online child safety program aiming to raise awareness and prevent online child sexual exploitation. Information and resources for parents and carers can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au   

To download arrest footage, click here.

NOTE FOR MEDIA: THIS IS CHILD EXPLOITATION, NOT ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’

Use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ actually benefits child sex abusers because:

  • it indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • it conjures up images of children posing in ‘provocative’ positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not pornography.

Media enquiries:

AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297

CDPP Media: (02) 6206 5708