Sep 27, 2020, 09:41:58

Sri Lankan man in Melbourne charged

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Sri Lankan man in Melbourne charged with 19 counts related to child abuse material.

A 23-year-old Sri Lankan man living in Melbourne has been charged after allegedly coercing two girls aged between 12 and 14 into sending him intimate pictures, before trying to blackmail them for more, The Age reported.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) say the Burwood man allegedly used a fake social media identity to contact two young girls, one from the UK and one in the US.

After gaining their trust, the girls sent intimate pictures and videos to the 23-year-old, which he allegedly used to blackmail them for more child abuse content by threatening to share the images with the girls' friends and family.

The AFP said the man allegedly told the girls he would “ruin their lives” if they failed to comply, and after they refused to send more pictures, the man contacted family members and shared the material.

“Child exploitation material can have a devastating, life-long impact on its victims,” AFP Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling said.

“In this case, not only are they victims of self-produced child exploitation material, but it has been doubly weaponized against them to facilitate so-called sextortion.

The man faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday after being charged with 17 different charges related to child abuse material, including nine counts of transmitting child abuse material using a carriage service and two counts of soliciting child pornography material using a carriage service.

The AFP began the investigation in April after receiving tips from both the London Metropolitan Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about girls aged between 12 and 14 allegedly receiving threatening messages.

Investigators traced the messages to a Burwood address, and during a search of the property, a number of devices were seized for forensic examination.

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