A Melbourne teenager sent videos of herself sexually abusing her baby daughter to a man in the United Kingdom who had been coercing teenagers to send him intimate images, a court has been told.
- The woman has been charged with transmitting child pornography and other offences
- She was 17 at the time of the alleged offending so the case is before the Children’s Court
- The woman has been granted bail and ordered not to have any contact with her baby daughter
The 18-year-old, who cannot be identified, was arrested by Australian Federal Police (AFP) on Wednesday after a tip-off from authorities in the United Kingdom who had arrested a man accused of exploiting young women online.
She has been granted bail in a Children’s Court charged with sexual assault of a child under 16, using a carriage service to transmit child pornography material, using a carriage service to produce child pornography material, and sexual penetration of a child under 16.
An AFP detective told the court the man arrested by UK authorities was communicating with the woman via the messaging service WhatsApp and had asked her to send him photos and videos.
“The videos and images that we’ve seen clearly identify the people in it,” he said.
The court heard the man had been chatting online to a number of girls and women between the age of 17 and 19 and asking them to send videos of themselves performing sexual acts.
Police allege he threatened to send compromising material to their family and friends if they refused.
Woman ordered not to contact daughter
The woman was 17 at the time of the alleged offending in November and December of last year which means her case will be heard in the Children’s Court.
Prosecutors opposed the woman being granted bail over concerns she would attempt to have contact with her daughter and destroy any possible evidence contained on her social media accounts.
The detective told the court the investigation was ongoing and police had not yet been able to examine her mobile phone.
But the woman’s lawyer submitted that the teenager would comply with any bail conditions imposed by the court.
“In taking instructions from her today, it is clear that two days in custody … has been a significant shock for her, and given her lack of priors … she is likely to follow conditions that Your Honour could impose today,” he said.
In being granted bail, the woman was ordered not to have any contact with her daughter or to access the internet.
The court heard there were concerns about the woman’s mental health and that she would attend targeted counselling relating to her alleged offending.
An interim family violence intervention order also prevents the woman from coming within 100 metres of her daughter.
She will return to court in April.