Australian police yesterday described as “depraved” the case of a six-year-old boy obtained by his gay male parents via a surrogate mother, and then sexually abused by them and others.
Authorities in Australia and the US worked together to bring to justice the men, who had lived in Cairns, Queensland, and presented themselves as loving fathers.
However, the baby boy they obtained from a Russian surrogate in 2005 and formally adopted had been offered to others for sexual exploitation from a very young age.
Both men were arrested in California early last year and charged. Last weekend, one was jailed in the US for 40 years, while the other is awaiting sentencing.
“None of these cases are very good,” said Queensland Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, who heads the task force investigating online child exploitation and abuse. “What’s pretty sad about this one is the way this child came into their lives. It’s just really a tragedy. It’s extremely depraved.”
It is not known whether the boy was conceived with one of the men’s sperm, but he had been living as the couple’s son when a chance discovery in New Zealand put police on their track.
Authorities investigating a child sex offender in Wellington had found images of the boy on the man’s computer. The images were not illegal, but they raised red flags with Australian police, who saw them as “modeling shots.” Further investigations unearthed chat logs between the couple and other child sex offenders.
When police raided the couple’s home while they were in the US, they found enough material on laptops and other devices to ensure their arrest, and the boy’s removal from their care.
Rouse said police were determined to ensure that all offenders were tracked down.