Childcare staff ‘remorseful’ over child exploitation files
A former childcare worker turned to child exploitation material to seek something "more exciting" than conventional adult material, a court was told.
Thousands of explicit photos and videos depicting children were found on Alex Thomas Giersh's phone and laptop when he disembarked at Brisbane International Airport in May last year.
On Friday, the 25-year-old received a jail term at Brisbane District Court.
Giersh pleaded guilty to counts of importing and exporting tier 2 goods without approval and one count of obtaining child pornography material outside of Australia.
The court was told Giersh was in possession of more than 700 child exploitation files when he travelled to the United Kingdom in April 2018.
While overseas stay, he used an onion router to access the dark web and procure more files.
He returned to Australia in May 2019 but was stopped by Border Force officials.
2165 images and 76 videos were found on his laptop and phone, depicting children from five to fifteen-years-old in various sexual poses.
Crown prosecutor Carmen De Marco said some of the files were considered category 5 - the most serious of classifications.
Reading from the facts, Judge Jennifer Rosengren said a psychologist noted Giersh had become bored with conventional adult pornography and turned to child exploitation material to seek something "more exciting".
Defence lawyer Ben McMillan told the court Giersh, who had worked in after school care prior to his arrest, never intended to work with children again.
He said his client suffered from a number of health issues, including migraines and high blood pressure, and had a history of anxiety, mood disturbance, low self-esteem and depression.
McMillan said Giersh had intense feelings of "shame and remorse" for his actions, but he had gained an insight into his offending and was seeking help.
Judge Rosengren said Giersh was "undoubtedly" remorseful for his offending but a jail sentence was warranted due to the seriousness of the offence.
She sentenced him to two-and-a-half years' jail but granted him immediate release.
For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737.
Originally published as Childcare worker 'remorseful' over child exploitation material