For a decade, a former Wellington art gallery owner, Aaron Paul Laurence, 38, committed depraved sex acts on at-risk children, uploading his abuse online to a worldwide audience.
The police summary of facts said he sexually abused eight victims, electronically recording his exploits.
“The defendant has not only sexually offended against his [eight] victims, but by photographing, filming and distributing pictures of the abuse, the victims are victimised repeatedly when their images turn up on the internet.”
Laurence targeted vulnerable boys from troubled homes, in one case sexually abusing his victim after forcing him to watch pornography and giving him cigarettes and cannabis that caused the boy to become intoxicated.
The Dominion Post published the colour photo of the perpetrator of these crimes on p. A15 today using a photo caption headline “Depraved.” . During his appearance in Lower Hutt District Court yesterday, Laurence opposed The Dominion Post’s application to photograph him.
Laurence pleaded guilty to more than 60 charges of abuse, including the rape of young boys and the production and distribution of footage of their ordeals. Details of his offending were suppressed until yesterday.
When Laurence’s stash of illicit child pornography was finally uncovered last year – hidden in a mire of computer encryptions and passwords – police found more than 31,000 images and videos. Many were homemade and detailed his horrific abuse of eight boys, aged between 8 and 13, across the lower North Island.
Laurence had been in possession of the offensive material since the late 1990s and had been producing the footage since 2001, police said.
“The demand for new images results in a continuing cycle of abuse for existing victims and the demand for new victims.
“The defendant has not only sexually offended against his victims, but by photographing, filming and distributing pictures of the abuse, the victims are victimised repeatedly when their images turn up on the internet.”
The leader of Police Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand, Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael, said the exploitation of children was a global problem.
“I don’t think we could ever say it’s an epidemic here but it’s certainly in existence and we come across it every day.
“The abuse itself has got younger. We are talking about sexual torture, bondage and discipline type sado-masochistic images involving children.”
Judge Mill remanded Laurence in custody for sentencing in May.
For full Dom Post story by Clio Francis and Blair Ensor, see:
The Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc. (SPCS) fully supports the work of enforcement agencies such as Police Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand tracking down immoral persons who commit criminal offences involving the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, often in conjunction with pornography and banned drugs.
Section 2(d) of the SPCS consitution states: “To focus attention on the harmful nature and consequences of sexual promiscuity, obscenity, pornography, violence …”
Section 2(e) states: “To foster public awareness on the benefits to social, economic and moral welfare of the maintenance and promotion of good community standards, including supporting enforcement agencies to uphold such standards as set out in law ….”