G’town child-porn ac­cused ad­mits to ad­dic­tion

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Adri­enne Carlisle

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.

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