A 51-year old Australian man living in the Philippines has been charged with the murder of a 12-year-old girl as well as with human trafficking and child abuse.
Peter Gerard Scully, who is originally from Melbourne, is accused of sexually abusing at least eight girls, ranging from 18 months to 13 years old, over a period of three years.
The Philippines’ national bureau of investigation says he then allegedly used the internet to live stream videos of children being tortured and sexually abused, fulfilling requests of paying customers.
The initial forensic investigation shows evidence of paedophile customers based in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Brazil. Four of the girls have provided statements and if convicted, Scully could receive a sentence of life in prison.
He is also charged with murdering one of the girls, whose body was buried under a house he had rented in the southern Philippines.
Investigators told attorney Angelito Magno, regional director for the area where the alleged crimes took place, that Scully’s Filipino former girlfriend, Liezl Margallo, said the 12-year-old girl had lived in Scully’s house.
Margallo, who is not in custody but played a key role in the discovery of the girl’s body, said the girl was killed because she started talking to neighbours about what she was doing there.
The investigation that led to the discovery of Scully’s alleged crimes began after Philippine investigators were given a tip from Dutch law enforcement. When Dutch police raided suspected paedophiles in Holland, they found a hard drive which showed images of the sexual abuse of children.
Special investigator Danilo Garay, of the NBI’s anti-human trafficking division, said the images included video of a baby being punished and tortured.
Garay said: “They did not know the name of the perpetrator or victim but thought she could have been from the Philippines so we started to investigate and confirmed the video was made here.
“But all we had to go on were interiors of the house and the view from the window. We started looking for windows of a house and luckily eventually stumbled upon the right place and started talking to neighbours.”
As the NBI investigation continued, they discovered an existing warrant for Scully for alleged human trafficking and widened a manhunt that led this his arrest last week.
Two lap tops and a mobile phone were also recovered and are undergoing forensic investigation with the help of Dutch and Australian federal investigators.
Last year, Philippines justice secretary Leila de Lima said that online child abuse was the leading cyber related crime in the Philippines. In a statement released online, de Lima says the Philippine government has the will, the capacity and the commitment to fight this growing cyber related crime.
“Let notice be served to these criminal elements that the days of their childcybersex operation is numbered….Wherever these syndicates are, we will hunt them down and we will bring them to justice.”
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