An Australian man has been sentenced to 129 years in prison
This is the second sentence against Peter Gerard Scully, who is already serving a life sentence for various charges related to rape and child trafficking.
The Philippines has become a global hotspot for child sex abuse, helped by poverty, fluency in English and high internet connectivity in the country, experts have warned.
,I hope this sends a very strong message to all abusers, all human traffickers, that crime doesn’t really pay off.Merlin Barola-Uy, a regional prosecutor in the southern city of Cagayan de Oro, told AFP.
The Cagayan d’Oro court sentenced on November 3, after Scully and his three co-defendants reached a plea agreement. He was charged with 60 offenses including trafficking, child pornography, child abuse and rape.
Scully’s girlfriend Lovely Marglow was sentenced to 126 years in prison. Two others received sentences of more than nine years.
According to a statement posted on the regional prosecutor’s office’s Facebook page, the victims and their families have accepted the terms of the settlement and consider it a “sweet victory.”
“They all want to end this dark phase of their lives and move on,” the statement said.
There were a total of nine victims in the charges against Scully. The November 3 sentencing involved seven of them, including an 18-month-old girl and a boy whose bodies were found buried. Under the floor of a house rented by Scully, said Barola-oops.
“Not only is this a huge victory for us Justice Department prosecutors, but more importantly, it’s a huge victory for victim-survivors,” he said.
Barola-Uy said the youngest victim was now in second grade at school, while the others were adults.
Father Shay Cullen, a Philippines-based child rights activist, said the sentence showed “the world can be judged” in the Southeast Asian country. But he noted that the Philippine agency investigating cybersex crimes lacked staff.
,The Philippines has only 10 police officers investigating cybersex crimes, only 10 for a population of 110 million people.Cullen told AFP.
Scully was arrested in 2015 in Malayabale, another city in the southern Philippines, after fleeing Australia in 2011. She came to the Philippines to escape charges of fraud in her home country.
Investigators previously said he set up a cybersex business, filming teens from poor families as they had sex with them or used sex toys.
The videos were reportedly sold to customers in Germany, the United States and Brazil.
Barola-Uy said that Scully and his girlfriend inflicted “extreme forms of abuse” on their victims. “They were so graphic, they were so brutal,” he said.
Officials say most of the people who get paid to watch these types of sex videos are abroad, and potentially thousands of children are abused, often with their parents’ consent.
The United Nations Children’s Fund said in 2021 that the Philippines is one of the world’s leading sources of child sexual abuse material.