Long jail term for child abuse porn trader

July 6, 2016 | By More

Court House-general1A Canterbury child abuse pornography trader told himself that by paying for material he was helping starving children in the Philippines.

Now 35-year-old Rhys Nathan Firth, of Rolleston, has begun a four year two month jail term after being caught with 25,800 images and videos which included the worst levels of child abuse.

Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish, who jailed him, said she believed he would be treatable through the Kia Marama programme in prison, but the Parole Board would want to see progress before they would consider his release.

“There are real victims here – thousands of victims,” she told him as she sentenced him for the Department of Internal Affairs and police prosecutions.

Firth had admitted representative charges of possession and trading objectionable images of pre-pubescent girls. He had traded objectionable material over the Internet 400 times.

DIA prosecutor Tamsyn Badland said the trading continued exploitation of children who had been groomed when they were vulnerable and dependent and promoted the idea that children were “available and sexually desirable objects”.

Firth had encouraged a woman believed to be in the Philippines to send him “fresh” material. He had sent her several child sexual abuse videos for her to sell. Judge Farish said that Firth’s justification to himself was that he was assisting children who would otherwise be starving.

He obtained material from websites or file sharing networks, and traded with an estimated 18 other individuals.

After being interviewed by DIA, he was caught again by the police after being in contact with an 11-year-old girl over a Russian social media site.

In January 2014 he secretly photographed young girls changing on a Nelson beach, using a zoom lens, and then offered the images of partially dressed and naked girls online in exchange for child sexual abuse material.

Firth explained that at the age of nine or ten he developed an interest in girls his age but had then failed to grow out of it.

Defence counsel Tom Stevens said Firth had been brutally honest when he was questioned. He had isolated himself and become obsessed in his own little world.

Judge Farish commented: “He screams out for treatment. He has obviously had on-going issues in terms of socialisation, sexuality, and development.”

Judge Farish made orders for all the material to be destroyed, and five of Firth’s electronic devices to be forfeited.

She quoted a report from one of the victims of his offending, who was in the United States and had commented about another offender, saying that she had continuing nightmares about the “horrible knowledge” that people were continuing to watch the most terrifying moments of her life and taking grotesque pleasure in them.

The victim said: “Every time they are downloaded, I am exploited again. I will never have control over who sees me raped as a child.”

 

 

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