Vic man lashes out at jailed Filipino children | Review of northern beaches
An Australian who paid an impoverished 13-year-old Filipino girl $ 38 to do an indecent act on camera while recording the video has been jailed.
Phillip Cooper faced court in Victoria County on Wednesday, where he was sentenced to a total of four years and a month behind bars.
The 61-year-old had pleaded guilty to five counts, including encouraging sex with a child under 16 outside Australia, engaging in sexual activity with a child and possession of child pornography.
Cooper, then based in Barnawartha, about three hours northeast of Melbourne, asked a 13-year-old girl in the Philippines to undress and sexually touch herself during a 24-minute taped video chat in March 2019.
“She told you directly that she was hungry and that her mother couldn’t afford the food she wanted,” Justice Justin Hannebery said.
“You used their hunger and poverty as leverage to get a child to have sex with you in exchange for $ 38.
“There was a glaring power imbalance between you due to your age and relative economic status. You openly exploited this situation for your own sexual satisfaction.”
The court heard that the girl was later removed from her family home by Philippine authorities after discovering her mother’s involvement in the crime.
“Phil destroyed my life,” she said in a statement.
Cooper has since paid him $ 40,000 in compensation.
Justice Hannebery said it demonstrated an element of remorse, but would not cure his pain and suffering.
Cooper in October 2019 also searched for and received images of child abuse from the mother of two daughters aged 11 and 12.
This woman also said that she needed money for food.
“You have been able to place your own sexual satisfaction above any consideration for the welfare of the children,” Justice Hannebery told Cooper.
“You seem indifferent to their situation at best. You were prepared to exploit their hunger and poverty for your own ends.
“The nature of this offense means that wherever an Internet connection is available, an opportunity for breach exists.”
Border forces arrested Cooper at Melbourne Airport upon his return from Manila in November 2019.
He told them that he goes to the Philippines every two weeks and meets girls there through social media or online dating sites.
Cooper said he had never had sex with children under the age of 18 and knew it was illegal.
“You are not preparing the children in the Philippines – they are preparing you,” he told police.
“They manipulate you, cheat on you, pickpocket you … it’s prolific. It’s pretty amazing … a girl in the Philippines would do anything for $ 30.”
Cooper, now a registered sex offender for life, must serve at least two years and six months behind bars before being eligible for parole.
Associated Australian Press