Perth paedophile ring member jailed for 3 year over abuse of girl

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A Perth man has been sentenced to three years’ jail for his involvement in a paedophile ring that involved a father “pimping out” his young daughter to middle aged men.

Benjamin Simon Clarke, 48, pleaded guilty to 12 charges laid after police uncovered the paedophile ring in July 2015.

The District Court was told Clarke took naked and semi-naked photographs of the young girl in 2014 after her father answered an advertisement he had placed on the internet.

Some of the photos were taken at an abandoned mine site believed to be in Perth’s northern suburbs, while others were taken at the girl’s home, where the father also asked Clarke if wanted “to do more” with the girl.

Clarke agreed and he then indecently abused the girl as she laid naked on a mattress.

He left the house after leaving $300 on the kitchen counter.

Sometime later Clarke transferred the photographs onto a flash drive and left it in the mail box of the father’s home for him to collect.

Crimes ‘reprehensible and disgusting’

The court heard Clarke had a prior conviction in 1988 for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl and had been sentenced to almost six years’ jail.

His lawyer, Oliver Paxman, said Clarke had been in a de facto relationship for the past 20 years and had two adult sons, including one who had severe disabilities.

Mr Paxman said Clarke’s partner had made the difficult decision to stand by him but had made it very clear she was horrified and angered by what he had done.

Judge Simon Stone described the Clarke’s crimes as reprehensible and disgusting.

“It must have been obvious she was being offered up to you by her own father, who encouraged you to sexually exploit her,” he told Clarke.

“You were, in effect, a party to a gross breach of trust by her father. She was hopelessly vulnerable and you took advantage of that vulnerability for your own sexual gratification.”

Judge Stone accepted Clarke was remorseful, and in his sentencing took into account Clarke’s pleas of guilty, his cooperation with police, and the fact his family would suffer hardship as a result of him being jailed.

Clarke will have to serve 18 months before he can be released and with time already served his earliest release date is in January 2017.

Clarke was one of seven men charged after the paedophile ring was uncovered.

One man has already been sentenced to more than 10 years jail, while the girl’s father, who can not be named for legal reasons, has pleaded guilty to hundreds of offences and is due to be sentenced later this month.

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