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A 30-year-old man is facing charges after allegedly possessing a “child-like” sex doll under a new law that prohibits owning or importing such toys in South Australia.
The suspect was arrested at his home in South Australia on Tuesday, according to a joint news release from Australian Federal Police (AFP) and South Australia Police. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison if convicted of possessing the doll.
Acting under a search warrant, police say they seized an “anatomically correct” child-like sex doll at the man’s home. They also recovered a computer, mobile phone, bank card and several articles of children’s clothing, including school uniforms, swimwear and underwear, police say.
“Police will allege child abuse material was stored on the computer,” the release says.
Authorities were first alerted to the doll’s existence by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), which identified a potentially illicit purchase from a Chinese vendor in December 2018. Investigators worked with PayPal Australia to investigate the suspect’s purchase history, which allegedly showed several transactions involving children’s clothes.
Protecting children from being victims of online pornography
Child-like sex dolls objectify children and desensitize a person to using and abusing them for sexual gratification, AFP Acting Commander South Australia Gail McClure said in a police statement.
“Some dolls are even robotic and designed to respond positively to the abuse,” she is quoted as saying. “These anatomically correct dolls are legally considered child exploitation material.”
The suspect is expected to face one charge of possessing a child-like sex doll that a reasonable person would consider is intended to simulate sexual intercourse. He will also be charged with one count of possessing child abuse material accessed using a carriage service, according to police. The charges each carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
The suspect also faces a charge of importing the doll, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of A$525,000 (C$472,000).
Child sex dolls are considered child pornography under Canada’s Criminal Code, which covers any visual representation or depiction of a person under 18 years of age when it’s for a sexual purpose.
A Newfoundland man was the first Canadian to be charged with possessing a child sex doll in 2017. He was found not guilty last May after the Crown failed to prove he knew he was ordering a child-sized sex doll over the internet.
Child-like sex dolls remain legal in the U.S., although a bill to ban them is in the works. The so-called CREEPER Act was passed in the House in 2018 and has been stuck in the Senate ever since.
The Australian suspect has been released on bail and is due in court on March 27.
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