Man who kept sexts between underage step-daughter and boyfriend to show police placed on sex offenders register

Ashan Ortell is to serve a 12-month good behaviour bond 

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The Independent Online

A man who kept sexts sent by his teenage step-daughter to her boyfriend has been convicted under child pornography laws and placed on the sex offenders register.

Ashan Ortell, 57, of Victoria, Australia, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and has been given a 12-month good behaviour bond. He has been ordered to be placed on the sex offenders register following the conviction, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Ortell caught his step-daughter sexting her boyfriend and confiscated her phone in 2013, when she was reportedly aged 15. He then made copies of the messages and showed them to the girl’s school and to authorities.

He copied 18 images onto his computer and a USB stick, claiming that he wanted police to investigate the messages further, despite warnings from police that storing the pictures was an offence, the Herald Sun reported. His computers were later seized by police.

Judge Jane Patrick sentenced Ortell to a 12-month good behaviour bond at the County Court in Victoria and ordered him to be placed on the sex offenders register, following his guilty plea.

He will be on the register for eight years and will need to report to authorities regularly, including when he wants to go away for longer than two days.

The maximum sentence Ortell could have faced is five years in prison under child pornography laws.

Judge Patrick called the case “unusual,” stating that Ortell had not kept the images for sexual motivation, but added that the law states people cannot keep images of a sexual nature of children.

“You kept the images, I am satisfied, because you were very concerned about what had been going on and foolishly decided this was the way to deal with it,” she said.

“There is no suggestion of any exploitation of them by anybody. You made no attempt to conceal the images,” Judge Patrick said, adding, “In fact, you were so concerned that you contacted authorities about the images.”

Speaking after his sentencing, Ortell told the Herald Sun: “I didn’t create this stuff, I didn’t distribute it. By law it’s mandatory that they put you on this register. But I could tell that the judge didn’t really want to do it.”

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