DEPRAVITY: Local jailed after feds swoop on pedo group
A BUNDABERG man has been busted as part of an online pedophile ring during an Australian Federal Police investigation.
Luke Grant Johnson, 27, was yesterday ordered to serve at least three months behind bars as part of an 18 month jail sentence after he pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing child exploitation material. Bundaberg District Court heard Johnson shared videos as part of multiple group chats on various social media platforms including WhatsApp, Kik and Snapchat.
Crown Prosecutor Christopher Cook said many of the videos featured a "high level of depravity".
The material included children as young as three years of age as well as what was described as "a baby".
Mr Cook said a condition of being a member of the pedophile group was to share content.
He said Johnson's activities were discovered during a federal police investigation.
A search of the home where he lived with his mother by police in December found evidence of the child porn.
Johnson admitted to police he had more than 100 files containing child exploitation material on a cloud-based storage site. He had made no attempt to hide his identity on group chats, that is to say he used his real name.
Defence barrister Callan Cassidy said Johnson was genuinely remorseful.
Mr Cassidy said his client had been diagnosed with a cerebral condition and was a self-described hermit as a result of the condition.
The court heard he had been a good sportsman before the diagnosis that changed his life.
Judge Jennifer Rosengren acknowledged that while there was the possibility of rehabilitation for Johnson, distributing and viewing child pornographic material was not a victimless crime.
She said these activities created a market demand.
"In relation to that, those inclined to exploit children by involving them in the production of it are encouraged by the fact that there is a market for it," Judge Rosengren said.