G’town child-porn accused admits to addiction
GRAHAMSTOWN businessman Anthony Evans, charged with being a central figure in an international child pornography ring, has admitted to being addicted to child porn, according to the indictment against him.
The semi-retired guesthouse owner, 53, who has been charged with the possession, creation and distribution of child pornography, had given his full and immediate co-operation to police since his arrest in March, according to the summa- ry of substantial facts attached to the indictment.
The criminal matter was yesterday transferred from the Grahamstown Magistrate’s Court to the high court for hearing on Friday. The indictment was formally served on Evans in court and is a public document.
The indictment said that after his retirement about three years ago, Evans had indulged his child pornography addiction at night and would catch up on lost sleep during the day.
It said he worked with 20 to 30 like-minded people from as far away as Russia and Scandinavia. The group’s modus operandi was to groom and trick children aged eight to 18 years into exposing themselves and performing sexual acts which were filmed with web-cams.
The children, mostly from the US, Canada and the Netherlands, were conned by members of the group who pretended to be young teens on social media sites and chatrooms.
The video footage and images were then saved and distributed among the group. In the US alone about 600 children be- came victims of the scam.
Evans is accused of being the administrator of the website and of providing software and technical support.
His arrest followed a sophisticated investigation by the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Seven other members of the syndicate had been arrested and are awaiting trial in the US.
Although American authorities indicated their wish to extradite Evans to the US, it emerged at his last court appearance that a plea and sentencing agreement between him and the Eastern Cape office of the director of public prosecutions (DPP) was on the cards.
At the time, deputy director of public prosecutions Advocate Johan Bezuidenhout confirmed that the matter was to be transferred to the high court in the hopes an agreement could be finalised.
Bezuidenhout acknowledged that if Evans pleaded guilty in South Africa and was sentenced to serve prison time here, it might scupper any chance of his being extradited to the US because of its legal principle of double jeopardy.