The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Internet predator jailed

30 April 2009

Two Canterbury men have been jailed on charges involving child sexual abuse images and exploitation.

A 75-year-old retired man of Christchurch yesterday was jailed for two years on 27 charges of possessing or distributing objectionable images, mainly of young boys in sexual poses or acts. He is the oldest person to be caught and prosecuted by the Department of Internal Affairs, following a tip-off from German police.

A 60-year-old former teacher, of Kaiapoi, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years prison in the Christchurch District Court today after a jury found him guilty last month on 24 charges of making or possessing objectionable publications – on-line chat logs in which he groomed and manipulated young girls into performing sexual acts. The Department uncovered his activities after a mother complained about the content of an online discussion her 11 year old daughter was engaged in.

Crown prosecutor, Claire Boshier, who suggested six years imprisonment as an appropriate sentencing starting point, told the court that the former teacher must be held accountable for the harm done to the hundreds of victims and the community by his predatory behaviour. He had consistently maintained that he believed he had done nothing wrong over the 10 years he had been active on internet chat rooms.

“The offender actively sought out pre-pubescent girls to engage in explicit online sexual activity with,” Ms Boshier said. “Through his established pattern of grooming each girl, he coerced some girls into performing sexual acts, the description of which he used for his own sexual gratification.

”His predatory behaviour of seeking out young girls to engage in explicit sexual relationships with does cause actual, immeasurable harm to the girls.”

Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary Keith Manch commended the mother whose vigilance led to the unmasking and prosecution of an Internet predator.

“This is a lesson for all parents to be aware of what their children may be up to on the Internet,” he said. “And young people need to be careful about what they post about themselves online as it’s not just their ‘friends’ or peer group who can access and use the information.

“Computers should be kept in family space so that access can be monitored. If the mother hadn’t seen the chat on her daughter’s computer who knows how long it would have been before Spark was caught?

“While our investigators are active on the Internet in tracking down those who are trading in child sex abuse images, we also act on information supplied to us by concerned people, such as this mother, and organisations like Interpol.”

Media contact:
Keith Manch, Deputy Secretary, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 9329; cell 021 227 6363
Trevor Henry, communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 0275 843 679