Man uses app to spread child porn

A Tauranga man has pleaded guilty to three charges related to supplying and possession of images and video of child sexual abuse. File photo.

A Tauranga man used social messenger apps popular with youth, and a folder named after a popular American TV dance show, to distribute more than 1000 child abuse images and videos.

The 46-year-old man pleaded guilty to three charges related to supplying and possession of images and video of child sexual abuse in the Tauranga District Court on Monday.

The man, who has name suppression, previously pleaded guilty to five other counts of the same offence.

The court heard messenger apps Kik and Chatstep were used to send to the images.

Most of the images were located on a google drive under the account abbyleedancecompany0791, mirroring the real-life name of the dance studio starring the reality TV Show 'Dance Moms'.

The show follows young girls competing in dance competitions across America. 

The defendant used the Kik app, which has a high youth user base due to its anonymous nature, to send images and videos to other users.

The messenger app has been redflagged in New Zealand and abroad as creating an uneven platform for sexual predators and for the sharing of child abuse images. 

Kik staff alerted Canadian authorities who then informed New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs. 

When one account was shut down there was nothing stopping him opening other anonymous accounts to continue his distribution on Kik and American-based application Chatstep 

On September 20 a search warrant was executed by police at the defendant's address in Tauranga. A number of electronic devices were seized for analysis and the authority to take over the man's social media accounts was granted.

Forensic investigation uncovered a cache of child images on the man's phone as well as two shared drives containing more than 1100 video and picture files. The content consisted of children posing for photographs, as well as engaging in sexual acts with other children and adults. Some of the material was classed as "extremely graphic".

The extent of the child pornography problem online was made apparent with the water marking on some of the images reading "LS Magazine." which is connected to the illegal activities of Ukrainian Angels Studio which created hundreds of thousands of child pornography images and sold them via the internet.

Approximately 1500 models were recruited and exploited before the publication was shut down, but not before its creators turned a massive profit. 

The man has been given name suppression until November 21 and will reappear for sentencing on January 15, 2018.

 - Matt Shand/Stuff



0 Comments

There are no comments on this article.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now
Opinion Poll

Is November too early to put up Christmas decorations?

Yes
No
It depends on where you live or work?

VOTE
VIEW RESULTS
Bay Today


The moon peeping through the clouds at Pillans Point. Photo: Mike Berry.

Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. kendra@thesun.co.nz