By Jane Lee, The Age, Victoria
A judge has described a BMX rider who sexually abused more than 20 young girls as a "monster of sexual depravity", whose crimes demonstrated the dangers of social media.
He blackmailed the girls, aged between 11 to 17 years, into performing degrading and painful sexual acts on themselves online, secretly recording videos of them which he used to continue blackmailing them.
"Yours was prolonged, classically predatory, depraved, cruel and remorseless behaviour, which demonstrated with appalling clarity the dangers inherent in social media [that have required] the formulation of punitive legislation designed to protect, as far as it can, the young and vulnerable from persons such as yourself," Judge Gaynor said.
When his victims refused to perform sexual acts according to his instructions via webcam or Skype, he would threaten to publish the photos online or to send them directly to their families.
Conversations where demands were made sometimes went from 30 minutes to three hours, and different victims were offended against for a day, weeks or months, with one abused for four years.