A Tauranga man has been jailed for 3.5 years for spreading “Class A” image of abused children across social media app Kik.
Labourer Graeme Ross Allen, 46, pleaded guilty to eight charges relating to the possession and supply of objectionable materials in November last year.
He appeared before Judge Thomas Ingram in Tauranga District Court on January 15 for sentencing.
The summary of facts reveal Allen used the social media messenger apps Kik and Chatstep to spread images he kept on a Google Drive, named abbyleedancecompany0791. The name mimics the real-life dance academy featured on the TV show Dance Moms.
His cache of objectionable images and videos numbered in the thousands.
Kik has a high youth user base and users can send images and videos to each other anonymously.
The 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.
Crown Prosecutor Hayley Sheridan argued the starting point should be 5.5 years’ imprisonment because of the size of the collection and the distribution of “class A” images.
“‘Class A’ images show penetrative sexual acts involving children,” she said. “Some show extreme acts.”
Sheridan had a transcript of a chat log between Allen and other users of the messenger service.
“It logs 83 messages containing objectionable publications,” she said.
“Six are category A.”
Allen’s defence lawyer said a starting point of 3.5 years was appropriate when compared to similar cases.
Ingram used the case against Neville Bruce Crockett in the Napier District Court as the “worst level” of offending.
That case saw more than 5000 filed of child sex abuse seized and destroyed with Crockett receiving a final prison term of 4.5 years.
Ingram considered Allen’s offending to be in the mid to upper range when compared to other cases and came up with a starting point of 5.5 years also factoring in Allen’s cooperation when finally caught.
“He assisted police with their enquiries and pleaded guilty promptly,” Ingram said.
“Mr Allen found himself in an isolated position and drifted into viewing objectionable material on the internet.
“He very quickly, due to the speed of the internet, finds himself in possession and then distributing material.”
Allen was given a 25 per cent reduction in sentence for his guilty plea and an additional three months for remorse.