Foreigner gets life sentence for child pornography, trafficking

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 20) — A Cebu City court sentenced an Australian national to life in prison Tuesday for child trafficking and pornography.

Authorities were first made aware of Drew Frederick Shobbrook's activities on March 22, 2013 after four girls reported to the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas that he had sexually abused them and other minors.

The complainants detailed how Shobbrook lured them with promises of material goods, education, and money in exchange for work in his house. They would either visit or stay with Shobbrook at one of his three apartments in Cebu City.

The complainants said he would sexually abuse, and take photos and videos of them which were then distributed online. They also said Shobbrook offered them to other foreigners for sexual exploitation.

After a search warrant was issued, Shobbrook was found in possession of hundreds of images of children in sexual acts as well as videos of his abuse of minors.

Shobbrook and his Filipina accomplice, Leslie Ann Fernandez, were arrested on April 17, 2013. Fifteen victims were rescued in the police raid that led to their capture.

Shobbrook and Fenandez were sentenced to life in prison with a fine of ₱2 million for violating Republic Act No. 9208, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

Shobbrook was also found guilty of violating Republic Act No. 9775, or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, with a sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of ₱1 million.

He was ordered to pay private complainants moral damages worth ₱500,000 and exemplary damages of ₱100,000.

Apart from Shobbrook and Fernandez, four more accomplices – Vanessa Monte Alto and three John Does – are on trial for trying to bribe and tamper with prosecution witnesses by offering them money to keep silent.

Should these charges be proven, these other accomplices face prison sentences of up to 15 years.