The United Nations estimates that 750,000 sexual predators are connected to the Internet at any one time. One offender stood in the dock in Christchurch today before beginning a two-year five-month jail term.
Judge Paul Kellar told 61-year-old Victor James Puru about the scale the problem before imposing the jail sentence for possession and distribution of child sex abuse pornography.
The judge said it was estimated that more than 200 new child sexual abuse images were circulated daily on the Internet, and told Puru that 750,000 sexual predators were connected to the Internet any any time.
The United Nations estimated that 10,000 to 20,000 minors were victims of child sexual abuse networks. The number of child sexual abuse images had quadrupled between 2003 and 2007.
In New Zealand, over a million clicks on illegal child sex abuse websites were identified by the Department of Internal Affairs during a two-year trial period ending in 2009.
The court was told the Puru thought of the material as images rather than children, as he spent hours at a time watching pornography.
Judge Kellar said Puru had showed little remorse and even less insight into his behaviour. He had a high level of sexual preoccupation during the offending, but he had to appreciate that there were real children shown in the images and videos.
Defence counsel Josh Lucas said the case showed the insidious nature of Internet pornography. It was a “vicious and captivating whirlpool”. Puru had begun watching “regular pornography” but had then moved into other illegal areas. He needed to do courses to understand the harm being done.
Both the prosecutor and Judge Kellar said that viewing the images created a market for them.
Judge Kellar said that if there was no viewing of the images, the victimisation of children would not occur at anything like its present scale.
Puru, of Christchurch, pleaded guilty in December to charges of possessing and distributing objectionable publications which included adults in sexual activity with boys and girls, dogs, horses, sheep, donkeys, and a snake.
The videos depicted young female children engaged in sexual activity, and a young female having sex with an animal. In one video the victim was tied on a bed.
Police investigated his computer when Puru accessed the Internet and downloaded the objectionable material, and then distributed child exploitation material from it.
He has been held in custody during the remand for sentence.
The judge ordered that his computer hard drive be forfeited.