Posts Tagged ‘chatrooms’


Age:   31

Location:   Adelaide  SA

Offence:  Pleaded guilty to six charges of possessing and distributing the material.

Sentence:  Jailed for four years and set a non-parole period of two years.

Other:   Caught with more than 1000 images and more than 130 videos of child exploitation material.




Sex predators jailed after online sting by police

  • Tony Keim
  • From: The Courier-Mail
  • November 19, 2010 10:55PM

A BRISBANE pharmacist and an entertainment manager are both behind bars after grooming a sexually inexperienced 14-year-old girl over the internet who was actually a male police officer.

A District Court jury deliberated almost a day before this afternoon finding 60-year-old pharmacist Kenneth Leslie Sternes guilty of using a carriage service, the internet, to groom a person under 16 and eight of using the internet to expose a child under 16 to indecent material between January 7 and February 25 last year.

At the same time entertainment manager and part-time radio announcer Christopher Francis Costello, 50, was before another court several rooms away being sentenced to 2¼ years’ jail after a Brisbane jury in July found him guilty of similar offences between January 19 and February 16, last year.

In both cases the men were chatting with the same male police officer posing as “Cassie” in computer internet chatrooms.

“Cassie” who was in fact an officer for the Queensland Police Service’s Crime Operations Command Taskforce Argos described herself in her internet profile as a sexually inexperienced 14-year-old girl living with her mother at Browns Plains.

Commonwealth prosecutors, in both cases, said the men started corresponding with “Cassie” – who used the internet username “cassiedaluvbug” – in a Yahoo Messenger internet chat room and later continued communicating with via MSN Messenger.

Prosecutor Deb Mayall, in opening the case against Sternes this week, said the pharmacist went by the computer nickname “aussiejimmy3” and asked “Cassie” for her mobile number, questions of a sexual nature and whether she was sexually experienced and interested in boys.

She said during internet chats and messages Sternes encouraged “Cassie” to pleasure herself sexually, not tell her mother of their chat exchanges, asking to meet her for sexual encounters and if she considered him to be her boyfriend.

Sternes also sent the “girl” photos and videos of his exposed penis and of himself masturbating on eight occasions.

Ms Mayall said during internet chats Sternes asked the girl “if she had boobs or hair down there” and even “offered to educate” her on matters of a sexual nature.

Sternes has been remanded in custody for sentencing on a date to be fixed.

In July, the Commonwealth prosecutor Glenn Rice revealed Costello spent 13-hours sending messages to “Cassie” and sent “her” photographic images of himself shaving his pubic hair and masturbating.

Costello had been the holder of a Blue Card – a government permit which allowed him to work or volunteer with children.

Judge David Reid today jailed Costello for 27 months, but ordered he be eligible for release from September 10 next year.

Brett Le Gassick: Melbourne man jailed for exploiting poverty-stricken children in Philippines

By court reporter Peta Carlyon

Thu 14 Aug 2014, 10:59am

A Melbourne man has been jailed for 11 years for sexually exploiting children living in poverty in the Philippines.

Brett Le Gassick, 43, pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court to 23 Commonwealth child sex offences.

The court heard between 2009 and November 2013 he procured 54 young girls, most between 10 and 12, to engage in sexual activities while he watched online from his home the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick.

He also exposed himself to his victims, the youngest of whom was four years old.

Le Gassick also pleaded guilty to two Victorian charges of possessing and producing child pornography.

The court heard he made 56 international bank transfers to accounts in the Philippines.

He flew to Manila in 2012 but was denied entry and returned to Australia the following day.

The court heard he had planned to stay for 20 days, had packed condoms and had written “clean PC” on a to-do list.

He had asked some of the girls if they would meet him to have sex if he travelled to the Philippines.

In sentencing, Justice Elizabeth Gaynor told Le Gassick his offending involved “the wholesale exploitation of vulnerable poverty-stricken children, whose willingness to engage in the activities for which you paid only highlighted the desperateness of their situation.”

“The number of victims was extremely large… the amount of damage done to these girls as a result of your criminal activity is incalculable,” she said.

“It is horrendous that the lives of these children, who must already navigate enormous problems brought about by their socio-economic position in life, should be rendered so much more difficult by the sexual exploitation and degradation they experience and their suffering is immense.”

Justice Gaynor said the only appropriate sentence was a lengthy term of imprisonment.

Le Gassick will be eligible for parole in eight years.

His sentencing follows a similar case of Melbourne Patrick Goggins, 68, last month.

Goggins pleaded guilty to more than 20 child sex offences involving the exploitation of young children in the Philippines and was also jailed for 11 years.

Man paid for Filipino kids web sex shows

August 08, 2014 5:30PM

AN Australian man who paid Filipino children as young as nine for online sex shows would try to barter down the cost of the performances from his desperate victims.

MELBOURNE truck driver Brett Geoffrey Le Gassick, 43, used chatrooms to pursue 83 children in the Philippines for sex shows and explicit conversations.

He paid dozens of young girls between $20 and $35 to act out sexual instructions using webcams.

Crown prosecutor Morgan Brown said the children’s participation in the offending highlighted how desperate they were.

“Instead of viewing these victims as children, they’re essentially commodities,” Ms Brown told the Victorian County Court on Friday.

“When negotiating these sex shows the accused barters to get a better price.”

Le Gassick also attempted to pay for two under-age children to engage in a sex act with a 32-year-old, the court heard.

At times he paid for sex shows only to have the girls walk away once the money was transferred.

In 2012 he spent four months trying to recover $30 that he paid for a 22-year-old man to have sex with a 10-year-old girl, telling the man he was going to close his bank account because of the scam.

“So many poor families not getting my money anymore cos of scammers like you, I hope you feel good that you take food from all their mouths,” Le Gassick wrote.

He told a 12-year-old girl who took money but didn’t perform: “You bad to me. Keep do that you go to jail.”

He also used screen shots of the sex performances to produce child pornography.

When police raided his Brunswick home in January they found 567 child porn images and 20 videos, the court heard.

Defence barrister Steve Preece said Le Gassick knew what he was doing was wrong but told himself the fact he was “helping” the children by paying them was a “silver lining”.

He said Le Gassick had initially engaged with online chat groups to find a partner.

“He lives a very lonely life,” Mr Preece said.

Le Gassick on Friday pleaded guilty to 25 offences relating to causing and procuring a child for sexual activity.

Judge Elizabeth Gaynor said if Le Gassick had been sent to a sex offender program after being jailed in 2007 for possessing child porn it might have made a difference.

“Inaccessibility of appropriate programs is really a worry,” Judge Gaynor said.

“You’re so often dealing with people whose capacity to be deterred by a jail sentence simply isn’t there.”

Le Gassick will be sentenced next week.


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DEPORTED: Back to New Zealand. Believed to hail from Taranaki.

‘Cookie monster’ jailed for internet grooming

court reporter Sarah Farnsworth

Updated Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:15pm AEDT

A 24-year-old Melbourne man who called himself Cookie Monster as he groomed teenagers for sex over the internet has been jailed for more than four years.

Arran Wratten of Carlton pleaded guilty to 14 charges including sexual penetration of a child under 16, using a carriage service to procure a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, procuring a minor for the purpose of making child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Under the pseudonym Cookie Monster, Wratten, who was 22 at the time, used chatrooms and an instant messaging service to discuss sexual activities with his victims who were aged between 11 and 14.

He was arrested after the mother of a 13-year-old girl found inappropriate and highly sexual text messages on her daughter’s phone.

Police seized his phone and computer, uncovering 6,000 text messages he had sent to a large number of girls as well as between 500 and 600 images of child pornography on his laptop.

The contents of the computer revealed Wratten had sent explicit photographs of himself to his nine victims and encouraged them to do the same.

In one case he told a 14-year-old girl he wanted to meet and have “vampire sex” with her after they had discussed vampirism and exchanging blood.

The court heard Wratten also had a year-long sexual relationship with a girl he knew was 13.

Judge Wendy Wilmoth told the court he had “exploited” a number of young women and one “particularly vulnerable” girl was so emotionally hurt she had tried to commit suicide.

She said psychologists were divided over whether he was a paedophile or a person who was attracted to adolescents.

“You didn’t believe you were behaving predatorily at the time,” she told Wratten.

The court heard he was immature and sexually precocious when he offended and still did not believe he was solely to blame.

However Judge Wilmoth said due to his age, Wratten had good prospects of rehabilitation.

She sentenced him to serve a minimum two years’ jail. He will be a registered sex offender for life.


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Paedophile leaves court and community at a loss

January 10, 2013 – 12:01AM

Amy Remeikis

We need to talk about Michael.

Intellectually deficient – court-ordered tests estimate his IQ is between 61 and 69 [an average adult IQ starts at 90] – Michael Richard Hodges has been in and out of the Queensland court system for the past 13 years.

On paper the 33-year-old’s crimes are among what society considers to be the absolute worse – Hodges’s attempts to procure children under the age of 16, and in some cases under the age of 12, via the internet are prolific.

The Cleveland resident’s modus operandi is always the same – enter an internet chat room, try to identify the younger users, attempt to lure them to meet him for sex. The handles he uses point to his intellectual capabilities. When he was 25, one of his chat room names was ‘Michael25’. The following year, it was ‘Michael26′.

His criminal history, once again read out in a Brisbane District Court on Tuesday, is littered with procurement offences dating back to 2000.

In the past he has also pleaded guilty to involving a child in making child exploitation material, using the internet to access child pornography and soliciting a child under 10.

He has committed offences while on bail and parole. He has been to prison and completed programs. He has committed offences the day after he was released from prison. The offences have only stopped when he has been incarcerated and under strict 24-hour supervision.

This week, wearing cargo pants and a striped jumper zipped all the way to his neck, Hodges faced Judge Terence Martin, SC, with a bemused expression and a slumped posture and pleaded guilty to seven more counts of attempting to procure a child using the internet between June 19 and June 27 last year.

It wasn’t his first time sitting in the accused dock. And everyone in that court room, from Judge Martin to Hodges’s defence barrister, Mark Green, to the two family members who came to support a lonely confused man, knew it wouldn’t be the last.

This time round, Hodges had been chatting to a police officer when he thought he had convinced 13-year-old “Bree” to meet him for sex at a Brisbane hotel, promising strawberry-flavoured lubricant and gentleness.

When officers arrested him at the arranged meeting place, a train station close to the hotel, he admitted his intentions.

In the past, many, many arrests ago, Hodges had been angry. He had told police he wanted what had happened to him as a child to happen to other children.

“I wanted other people to get hurt like I did,” was the sentence from Hodges’s 2005 arrest interview that prosecutor Ken Spinaze read out to the court .

This time, there was no anger. Just an acceptance that he didn’t know how to stop.

And the courts don’t have the capacity to make him.

Hodges’s story is, like so many others which are heard within the hallowed walls of court rooms across the country, tragic.

His parents had a rocky relationship before splitting for good, his mother taking her “simple” boy to live in a caravan park where he was abused by a resident in the park’s toilets.

Without the intellectual capacity to reconcile what had happened to him and without the emotional support of his parents, Hodges drifted, his behaviour becoming increasingly more erratic until he was dumped on his grandparents’ doorstep as a 13-year-old.

Relatives who had come to court on Tuesday to support him because he has no one else said Hodges’ grandparents and other extended family tried to help the young boy.

He was sent to an exclusive private school but was hopelessly outclassed by almost every other student in every field.

When he left school he was still incapable of taking care of himself, but there was nowhere else to go.

His anger and confusion built, his family said, until he began to seek an outlet for it. That outlet was the internet.

Each jail sentence has made him just a little more savvy when he comes out. His father, whom he has lived with since his last stint in prison, is ill. His extended family, good people from all accounts, know his behaviour is reprehensible but they also know he doesn’t have the capabilities to truly understand why his behaviour is so wrong.

It was when his dad went back into hospital that Hodges’ behaviour once again spiralled out of control.

Bored and housebound, he again turned to chat rooms, where, police, as they have since the mid-2000s, were waiting for him.

Arrested on June 29, 2012, he has been in jail since, waiting for his court date.

When it came to sentencing Hodges for his latest infraction, Judge Martin could only shake his head.

“It’s a tragic case,” he said to Mr Green, the defence barrister.

“This is a clear situation, it seems to me, where your client plainly has intellectual deficits and no doubt he has had and will have a terrible life.

“And on the other hand … the community is entitled to protection from him because his prospects of rehabilitation are very poor. It’s a terrible situation.”

The courts can only sentence people like Hodges within the parameters of what the law allows.

Outside of jail, the state can’t afford for people like Hodges to live structured lives where they are monitored by trained employees. So it falls back on families and an over-worked parole system to fill the gap.

“Your personal circumstances invoke sympathy, however your history is such that it is plain you pose a great threat to the community,” Judge Martin said in sentencing.

“Rehabilitation in your case is most unlikely. The risk of you re-offending, in my view, is very high. The community is entitled to protection from you.”

Judge Martin sighed and then issued the only sentence he could. Three years in prison. No parole date was set.

Hodges, already standing, and having previously used the toe of his white sneaker to play with the top of his foot, said “OK” and looked to his lawyer like he was being taken on a school excursion.

He all but ignored his family in the court, only looking at them once and then away very quickly, like a child whose hand had been caught in the cookie jar and was trying to hide his crime.

After a brief chat with his lawyer, Hodges lumbered towards the door in the custody of correctional services.

He smiled briefly at anyone’s eyes he could meet, before shuffling through the door.

Outside court his relatives released a sigh.

“It’s structure, it is what he needs,” one said.

“He knows what to do each day, he knows when to get up in the morning and that is what he needs. He needs structure and if there was something in the community which offered the same strict structure, we would do that.”

When asked if his client understood what had just happened, his lawyer just shook his head.

“As much as he is able,” he said.

“I think he knows it is as good as it is going to get.”

Paedophile ‘reoffended once out of jail’

February 16, 2007 – 5:04PM

One of Queensland’s worst internet paedophiles returned to cyberspace in a bid to exploit children the day after he was released from jail, a court has been told.

Michael Richard Hodges, 28, of Cleveland in Brisbane’s bayside, pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court to charges brought by the state and Commonwealth.

These included two counts of using the internet to procure a child under 16 with a circumstance of aggravation.

He was also charged with one count each of involving a child in making child exploitation material, using a carriage service to cause child pornography material to be transmitted and using a carriage service to access child pornography material.

The court was told Hodges was released from jail on December 15, 2005, after serving time for similar offences.

He was already on the sex offender register.

However, the prosecutor told the court Hodges hit the internet the day after his release and committed the latest offences up until March 20 last year, while serving a suspended jail sentence.

The charges stemmed from the solicitation of a 10-year-old child in South Australia as well as attempts to procure a nine-year-old child.

The court also heard he had a history of using the internet to procure children for sex and also once approached a 10-year-old girl in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall and touched her bottom.

The prosecutor said the latest offences had “striking” similarities to earlier ones and the offences were escalating.

However, Hodges’ defence lawyers said while the charges were similar, his offending was not escalating.

The court also heard Hodges had a relatively low IQ, recognised he had a problem and had a “very abused and scarred history”.

Hodges will now serve 855 days, plus another year in jail, after which time he will be eligible for parole.

Judge Trafford-Walker set a parole date for July 23, 2009.

‘Predator’ released after guilty plea

Posted Fri Dec 16, 2005 8:30pm AEDT

One of Queensland’s worst Internet predators has been released from jail after pleading guilty to 28 charges of procuring children and indecent treatment.

The District Court heard 26-year-old Michael Richard Hodges, from the Brisbane bayside suburb of Cleveland, would visit Internet chatrooms and attempt to procure young children.

On one occasion he instructed a person to rape their nine-year-old sister.

Judge Gil Trafford-Walker jailed Hodges for three-and-a-half years.

However, the judge ordered Hodges be released immediately because he had already served more than 423 days in pre-sentence custody.

Speaking outside the court, Senior Constable Kenneth King said Hodges was a prolific offender.

“This is certainly the case of the highest number of charges and of persistent offending for this type of offence,” he said.

The intellectually impaired man was also placed on three years’ probation.

Alan Raynor Gray

Posted: November 4, 2012 by Serendipity in Location, Photo, Registered Sex Offender, Tasmania
Tags: ,

Probation for having child porn

By ZARA DAWTREY Court reporter

June 28, 2011, 2 p.m.

A LILYDALE man has been placed on a six-month supervised probation order after being caught with child pornography on his computer.

Alan Raynor Gray, 28, of Lalla Road, was charged after police searched his home in July last year.

On his laptop police found 10 photos depicting naked young girls in sexual poses.

He later pleaded guilty in the Launceston Magistrates Court to one count of possessing child exploitation material and was sentenced yesterday.

In handing down his penalty, magistrate Tim Hill told Gray the offences were serious ones which called for a deterrent penalty.

However, he said he had also taken the accused’s own personal circumstances, including a mild intellectual disability, into account.

Mr Hill rejected lawyer Evan Hughes’s submission that Gray’s name need not be placed on the state’s sex offender register.

He said he could not be fully satisfied there was no risk he would reoffend – meaning he was required to make the order.

Gray must comply with the register’s reporting conditions for three years.

Man admits teen porn offences

Posted May 12, 2011 14:49:00

A northern Tasmanian man has pleaded guilty to possessing images showing underage girls in sexual poses.

Alan Raynor Gray has pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing child pornography in the Magistrates Court in Launceston.

Last July, police searched the 28-year-old’s Lilydale home and seized a laptop computer.

Police forensics revealed it contained 12 images of underage girls in several sexual poses.

The court heard Gray had downloaded the images off the internet or had been given them by users in online chatrooms.

Gray’s Lawyer, Evan Hughes, told the court his client was intellectually disabled and socially isolated.

Mr Hughes added the images only depicted teenage girls and were part of a wider collection of legal adult pornography.

Gray is due to be sentenced later this month.


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Porn downloads put man on sex offender register

Posted Tue Jul 13, 2004 11:21am AEST

A Wollongong man has been placed on a sex offenders’ register following an international child Internet porn police operation.

The listing will last for eight years. He also received a two-year good behaviour bond.

Craig Matthew Evans, 29, of Thirroul, received the bond, after pleading guilty to downloading 22,000 pictures and 150 movie files of sexually explicit material.

The geotechnician was the only Australian arrested in February after a three-year Europol child pornography investigation involving 10 countries.

Magistrate David O’Connor, in sentencing Evans, said each offence carried a two-year jail term and an $11,000 fine.

But he said Evans had cooperated with police, had pleaded guilty and there was a good prospect of rehabilitation.

Magistrate O’Connor added that even though the material had been collected over eight months, it had not been passed onto anyone else and that Evans had used the material for his own sexual gratification.

Evans has been ordered to receive continued psychiatric help and to be under the supervision of a probationary officer for the next two years.

Child porn ring traded thousands of images

By Natasha Wallace

March 24, 2004

For years, child pornographers have been able to hide in the relative obscurity of internet chatrooms and messageboards.

They connect through bulletin boards such as The Shadowz – which peddled images of underage girls to a group of about 300 people in 10 countries.

Newcomers who supplied basic contact details and an email address were checked out and then nominated by another member of the group.

The “brotherhood”, as it has been described by NSW police, issued passwords to give members access to tens of thousands of images of girls as young as four, believed to be from Russia and Ukraine. Members were expected to make their own contributions of child porn.

A huge international investigation has shed light on Shadowz and led to one arrest in NSW and several overseas last month.

Craig Matthew Evans, 29, of Thirroul, pleaded not guilty in Wollongong Local Court yesterday to two counts of possession of child pornography.

Evans was arrested on February 26, after officers from the NSW Child Protection and Sex Crimes Squad raided his home at 7am and seized a computer and other property.

Evans was charged with having 22,000 images on a computer hard drive that depicted naked girls, allegedly under 16, in sexual poses, with close-ups of their genital area.

He was also charged with having about 150 movie files depicting naked girls in sexual poses and performing “sexual activities with other persons”. Each offence carries a maximum sentence of four years.

Police will allege that Evans was traced via his email address. He was arrested during simultaneous raids in Holland, Norway, Peru, Spain, Sweden and Britain.

The three-year operation was led by Britain’s high-tech crime unit in collaboration with the Australian Federal Police, German Federal Police, the European Union agency Europol and the FBI.

The investigation involved the AFP’s Australian High Tech Crime Centre, set up last year to investigate computer-related crime such as child sex offences, fraud and terrorism.