WA man charged with allegedly procuring a child to engage in sexual activity

A West Australian man is scheduled to appear in Perth Magistrates Court today (19 April, 2024) after police found he was allegedly communicating with adults overseas to procure children to engage in sexual activity.

The Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) charged the man, 62, on 12 April, 2024, as a result of an investigation that started after Australian Border Force (ABF) members examined his luggage when he arrived at Perth Airport on a flight from overseas last year (2023).

During the examination, ABF officers allegedly found child abuse material on a device.

Three electronic devices were seized for forensic examination and the matter was referred to WA JACET, with investigators executing a search warrant at the man’s Innaloo home.

The WA JACET forensic examination of the man’s devices allegedly found records of communications with adults overseas to procure children to engage in sexual activity.

AFP Senior Constable James Nuhn said the AFP was working closely with international partners to remove any child victims from harm.

He said the AFP was committed to protecting children, wherever they lived.

“People who seek to harm children should be warned that no matter what methods they use, the AFP and our partners will identify them and bring them to justice,” Senior Constable Nuhn said.

“Children are not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual predators.”

ABF Inspector Brett Hennessy said information seized from passengers’ digital devices had contributed to many successful law enforcement operations targeting illegal activities.

“ABF officers, together with our law enforcement partners, are on the frontline every day using highly sophisticated technology to catch this type of detestable behaviour,” Inspector Hennessy said.

“Not only is child abuse material illegal, but as this case shows, there are very real victims subject to abuse and harm involved to create these abhorrent images.”

The man has been charged with:

  • One count of procure a child to engage in sexual activity outside of Australia, contrary to section 272.14(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count of grooming a person to make it easier to engage in sexual activity with a child outside of Australia, contrary to section 272.15A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for the offences is 15 years’ imprisonment.

WA JACET comprises officers from the AFP and Western Australia Police Force.

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse are urged to contact the ACCCE at www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety. Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

/Public Release. View in full here.