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Australian Arrested for Allegedly Using Minors in Cybersex Business

June 26, 2014 · 

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(Photo : REUTERS/Erik De Castro) Italian diplomat Daniele Bosio prepares to board a police vehicle after a court hearing in Binan, Laguna south of Manila, June 18, 2014. Bosio was arrested in April after being seen in the company of young boys. In Cebu province this week, an Australian was arrested under similar circumstances.

 Cebu City, Philippines – Police arrested Tuesday an Australian national who has been residing in the Philippines for two years, for allegedly recruiting minors and paying  them to perform lewd acts on camera.

 Peter James Robinson, 50 years old and a chemical engineer, was arrested inside a rented house in Cordova town, in Cebu province, after a number of minors were seen  leaving his house. Operatives also rescued 15 Filipino minors, four boys and 11 girls. The children have been placed in the care of social workers.

 Interviewed at the police station, the suspect denied any wrongdoing, and said he was “very confused” at the turn of events. Robinson said he runs an engineering  consultancy in Manila, the Philippines’ capital, and visits Cebu province often when vacationing.

 Australian embassy officials have been informed of the arrest.

 Earlier, a minor, assisted by her parents, went to a local social worker to complain about having been abused by the Australian days before in Manila. The girl said  Robinson also took lewd photos of her. Another girl who was among those rescued in Cordova told investigators that Robinson befriended her on Facebook, after which  they met a few times.

 The town’s police chief, Senior Insp. Alexander Nuñez, said it was the first time they caught a foreigner who is allegedly involved in child pornography.

 Cordova is the same place where anti-human trafficking authorities conducted operations in 2011, and uncovered a thriving online pornography business that catered  mostly to overseas clients. In a series of operations until last year, more than 20 minors were rescued, while nine adults were arrested. Among those arrested were  parents who operated cybersex dens, and used their own children to pose for lewd videos and photos online. Most of the arrests were made in the impoverished section of  the town.

Robinson was caught after the police allegedly saw children coming out from his room. He said he wasn’t shown any arrest warrant, and that he was alone in his room when police came.

Under Philippine laws, any person who is seen in the company of an unrelated minor in a private place can be arrested and jailed for up to four years and fined the equivalent of US$1,200.

In April, Italian diplomat Daniele Bosio was arrested in another province in the Philippines after three under-aged boys were seen in his company inside a hot-spring resort. Bosio remains in jail as he undergoes trial for violating the country’s anti-human trafficking laws.

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