Convicted paedophile who was allowed to work on kids TV show kept 'underwear, school uniforms and whips in bedroom'

A CONVICTED paedophile who worked on a children's TV show kept "girls' underwear, school uniforms and whips in his bedroom", court documents allege.

The man was arrested last year after social media platform Kik notified New Zealand authorities that he had uploaded child abuse files, report the New Zealand Herald.

Customs officers allege that the man was a contractor on kids TV show What Now who had previously been jailed several years ago for sexually abusing underage girls.

The company that hired him, Whitebait Media, co-owned by former children's entertainer Jason Gunn, has apologised for not conducting vetting checks before sending him to at least 10 schools.

The Herald revealed that the man was arrested last year at an Auckland studio, it's reported.

The production company who hired the man reportedly said that he had only worked two shifts – covering ill staff – and had not worked for the company since.

The contractor has reportedly been charged with 14 counts of possessing, distributing, exporting and making child sex abuse material, as well as two drug possession charges.

If convicted, the maximum penalty is 14 years in jail. The man has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The customs investigation, nicknamed Operation Washington, was reportedly sparked by a Canadian tip-off and investigators worked behind the scenes to build the case against the accused man.

Court documents seen exclusively by the New Zealand Herald show that customs were reportedly contacted by Kik in January last year after three child sexual exploitation images were allegedly uploaded to the platform.

Kik provided IP addresses for the images as well as usernames and email addresses of the three accounts that were allegedly used to distribute the sexual images.

Police swooped on the man's property in May last year and found at least six electronic devices in his house and car, reportedly containing thousands of video and images depicting graphic child abuse, bestiality and torture, court documents allege.

The man was reportedly not home at the time.

School girls' uniforms in a bedside table, whips, a large collection of sex toys and two large bags found to contain young girls' underwear were reportedly seized.

The documents allege that a locked safe in a wardrobe contained a small quantity of meth, two tabs of LSD and a glass pipe to consume the drugs.

One of the devices found could not be accessed "due to the level of encryption" but police reportedly managed to bypass that in February, allegedly revealing more child exploitation files.

"Due to the large amount of electronic devices located at the property forensic analysis will continue and further charges or amendments are likely," the summary of facts stated.

A charge of "making" an objectionable publication allegedly relates to man recording child sex abuse footage from the screen he was watching it on.

GPS data obtained allegedly showed several of the recordings were made at the man's address.

After the search, the man was arrested at an Auckland studio.

The man admitted having Kik messenger installed on his phone but refused to comment further, the documents allege.

He is due to reappear in court next month.

Whitebait Media co-owner Janine Morrell-Gunn apologised for the vetting failure and said they "ceased" the man's employment immediately after learning of his criminal background last year.

She accepted that no police vet had been carried out but the company was "only following police advice that freelance contractors were not required to undergo vetting".

"In hindsight, this was a failure on our part and one which we are deeply sorry for," she said.

"We now require police vetting of ALL staff, contractors and freelancers to ensure this never ever happens again."

 

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