Aus­tralian gets life sen­tence for rap­ing chil­dren

CON­VICT SEX­U­ALLY ABUSED AND FILMED GIRLS, IN­CLUD­ING 18-MONTH-OLD, FACES MORE CHARGES

The Nation - - ASEANPLUS / THAILAND -

AN AUS­TRALIAN man has been sen­tenced to life in a Philippine prison as part of a no­to­ri­ous child sex­ual abuse case in which prose­cu­tors say he chained the vic­tims like dogs.

Peter Scully still faces an­other trial and dozens more charges, in­clud­ing al­le­ga­tions he made child pornog­ra­phy and mur­dered a young girl.

The Philip­pines has be­come a key hub for a bil­lion-dol­lar, global child cy­ber­sex in­dus­try, po­lice have warned, with op­er­a­tors helped by wide­spread poverty.

Scully was con­victed of traf­fick­ing and rape by a court in the south­ern Philip­pines on Wednesday, three years af­ter he was ar­rested there and ac­cused of sex­u­ally abus­ing and film­ing girls in­clud­ing an 18-month-old baby.

The Ca­gayan de Oro court sen­tenced Scully and his Filip­ina part­ner to life in prison with­out pa­role and im­posed a fine of five mil­lion pe­sos (Bt3 mil­lion) for traf­fick­ing Filip­ina girls then aged ten and 12, the re­gional pros­e­cu­tor said.

“This is a big vic­tory for us. This sends a very strong sig­nal to traf­fick­ers that this gov­ern­ment is se­ri­ous in pur­su­ing and pros­e­cut­ing these cases,” said Mer­lynn Uy, of­fi­cer-in-charge of the re­gional pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice.

“These girls were lured into his apart­ment and they said that they were chained on the neck, like dogs on a leash.”

Scully was also found guilty of rape, which car­ries a min­i­mum of six years be­hind bars.

He was ar­rested in 2015 in Malay­balay, an­other south­ern Philippine city, af­ter flee­ing from Aus­tralia in 2011. He had come to the Philip­pines to es­cape fraud charges in his home coun­try.

He then set up a cy­ber­sex busi­ness, film­ing teenage girls from im­pov­er­ished fam­i­lies as he had sex with them or used sex toys, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said.

The videos were al­legedly sold to cus­tomers in Ger­many, the United States and Brazil.

Most of the peo­ple who pay to view these types of sex videos are abroad, with po­ten­tially thou­sands of chil­dren be­ing abused, often with their par­ents’ con­sent, au­thor­i­ties said.

Scully faces an­other trial for a sec­ond batch of 60 charges in­clud­ing the rape of an 18-month-old baby girl and the rape and mur­der of a 12-year-old girl. It is not clear when those pro­ceed­ings will start.

The so­cial wel­fare depart­ment said Scully’s vic­tims re­mained in gov­ern­ment cus­tody.

“The chil­dren have been trau­ma­tised. We pro­vide them ther­apy to help them pre­pare for a nor­mal life,” said re­gional so­cial wel­fare di­rec­tor Nestor Ramos.

Aus­tralia’s for­eign af­fairs depart­ment said it was pro­vid­ing con­sular as­sis­tance to Scully but de­clined to com­ment fur­ther cit­ing “pri­vacy obli­ga­tions”.

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