South East man charged with possession of child-like sex doll

INVESTIGATION: A South East man has been charged for possessing a child-like sex doll. Photo: Australian Federal Police.
INVESTIGATION: A South East man has been charged for possessing a child-like sex doll. Photo: Australian Federal Police.

A 30-year-old man from the South East has become the first person in the state to be charged for being in possession of a child-like sex doll.

Officers from the South Australia Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (SA JACET) arrested the man on Tuesday, and he now faces a potential 15-year jail term if he's convicted of possessing the doll.

The new offence came into force on September 20 last year as part of the Combatting Child Sexual Exploitation Legislation Amendment Act 2019.

SA JACET launched an investigation into the man's activities in November last year after receiving intelligence from the NSW's Police Force and Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), with support from PayPal Australia.

Financial analysis by AUSTRAC's Fintel Alliance identified the man had allegedly purchased a child-like sex doll from a consignor based in China in December 2018.

Investigators executed a search warrant at the man's home on Tuesday, where they seized the sex doll, along with children's clothing and a computer.

Police will allege child abuse material was stored on the man's computer.

They will also allege child abuse material was stored on the computer. The man's mobile phone and a bank card was also seized. A forensic examination of the seized electronic devices is ongoing.

Various children's clothing, which included school uniforms, children's underwear and swimwear, were also allegedly purchased by the man.

AFP acting commander SA Gail McClure said the dolls objectified children as sexual beings and could desensitise anyone who used them to the physical, emotional and psychological harm caused by sexual abuse.

"Some dolls are even robotic and designed to respond positively to the abuse," she said.

"The Australian Federal Police does not condone any form of child exploitation, or activity of any kind that reinforces the sexualisation of children.

"This includes sexual gratification activity using items depicting children - these anatomically correct dolls are legally considered child exploitation material."

She stated the arrest highlights the collaborative work undertaken by the AFP and its partners to protect children, and identify and prosecute anyone who seeks to exploit and harm them.

The man is currently on bail to face the Naracoorte Magistrate's Court on March 27.

South East woman charged:

SA JACET have also charged a 19-year-old South East woman for possessing child abuse material.

She was arrested on Tuesday after investigators executed a search warrant at her family home.

An investigation was launched in June last year after a tip-off from the United States' National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about a person allegedly uploading a video on social media of a child being sexually abused.

Investigators seized electronic devices when they searched the teenager's home and a preliminary examination allegedly uncovered stored child abuse material.

Commander McClure said while it is rare for a woman to be charged with this type of offence, it is a reminder that there is no single profile of a child sex offender.

"This case highlights the importance of the AFP's strong partnerships, both locally and overseas, to prevent the spread of child abuse material. To anyone thinking of accessing or sharing child exploitation material, this is not a victimless crime," she said.

"Each of those images represents a real child being abused and that is heartbreaking. The AFP and its partners are dedicated to working together to keep children safe and pursue offenders who exploit children."

The woman is currently on bail to face the Naracoorte Magistrate's Court on March 27.