'Worst sex offender' used Skype to harm kids
A man who solicited children to perform disgusting sexual acts over Skype has been described as one of the worst internet-based child sex offenders in Queensland history.
A court heard that over five years, former ATO worker Jason Tanira Kerr posed as a young boy over Skype and messaged nearly 100 children to perform shocking acts for his own sick sexual gratification.
All the while, Kerr, 51, was recording the conversations and keeping the chat logs stored on his computer.
Previous convictions for similar offences had not deterred him from his depraved ways as the offences were committed less than a year into a suspended sentence imposed in 2013.
Kerr, dressed in a black suit, did not speak through the proceedings and showed little emotion as he pleaded guilty to 111 charges at Brisbane District Court on Wednesday.
Those charges include 54 counts of using the internet to procure children under 16, 44 counts of grooming a child under 16 with intent to expose to indecent matter, nine counts of making child exploitation material, two counts of failing to comply with reporting and one count each of possessing and distributing child exploitation material.
The court was told Kerr had used Skype to converse with hundreds of users - 97 of whom identified as children - since July 2014.
More than 500 child exploitation images, 126 videos and hundreds of screenshots of Skype chat logs and video recordings were discovered when police executed a search warrant on his property in June last year.
Kerr had come to the attention of authorities after sending sexualised messages to a police officer posing as a 14-year-old child.
At times, he used screen capture software to covertly record Skype calls with the children.
Crown prosecutor Toby Corsbie said Kerr had engaged in "sexualised conversations, requested or sent indecent images and procured those children to engage in sexual acts" while posing as a 14-year-old boy.
Mr Corsbie said Kerr would distribute some of his recorded calls to other users as an "example of what he liked".
"The defendant has used deceit, pretending to be another child and sending indecent images of children to support that lie," he told the court.
"He often swapped child pornography with the children and offered money to obtain them to perform sexual acts for them."
Upon his arrest, Kerr denied any knowledge of the conversations.
"From my analysis … he is one of the worst internet-based child sexual offenders in Queensland history," Mr Corsbie said.
"This is horrifically persistent offending, this defendant is someone whom the community, and the community's children, need to be protected from.
At the time, Kerr was on a suspended sentence imposed in 2013 for similar offending against a 15-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl.
Mr Corsbie said he was assessed as being a low risk of reoffending at the time.
Defence lawyer Penny White said Kerr, a father of two, was "extremely ashamed" and embarrassed of his behaviour.
Ms White said prior to the offending, Kerr otherwise led a successful life.
Born in New Zealand, he was university-qualified and had worked at the Australian Taxation Office until being made redundant in 2016.
Ms White said Kerr's abuse of alcohol was a major factor, as his elderly parents had moved away and he had lapsed back into drinking problems while living alone.
"He was drinking up to 18 alcoholic drinks every night," Ms White said.
"He was clearly a high-functioning alcoholic as he was able to go to work during the day and function there but come home at night and consume alcohol.
"It was while he was under the influence of alcohol this offending occurred."
Judge Gary Long adjourned Kerr's sentencing to a date to consider his decision.*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Ex-ATO worker 'one of Qld's worst sex offenders'