25 September 2022

IT worker who had child abuse videos avoids spending time in jail

| Albert McKnight
ACT Courts

IT worker Ayush Bajracharya has been sentenced for child sex charges. Photo: Albert McKnight.

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses child sex abuse.

When Ayush Bajracharya’s home was raided and police discovered vile videos showing the abuse of children in his possession, he told them he thought he had a problem with pornography and expressed disgust at the material found on his computer.

It was September 2021, and police had found four videos showing child abuse material on his computer.

Two showed the rape of prepubescent girls by adult men, while another showed what the ACT Supreme Court heard was the sexual assault of a “visibly distressed” girl.

On Friday (23 September), Chief Justice Lucy McCallum said the videos involved real girls and remarked how those who joined in the demand for such material contributed to its supply.

Bajracharya, who works full-time in IT, pleaded guilty to charges of using a carriage service to access and possess child abuse material, for which he faced a maximum penalty of 15 years’ jail.

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Chief Justice McCallum said due to the distressing nature of the videos, no sentence other than jail was appropriate.

But she took into account factors that included his own traumatic childhood. She was satisfied he should be released immediately, handing him a two-year intensive corrections order with 50 hours of community service.

She said this offence was at the lower end of seriousness, partly as it was not uncommon to see offenders with hundreds or even thousands of items of child abuse material.

She also said he expressed remorse and had the support of his family, including his wife.

Forensic psychologist Leesa Morris thought Bajracharya didn’t have an addiction to pornography, but viewed it as a means of accessing the childhood trauma he was struggling with.

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Clinical psychologist Dr Douglas Boer said Bajracharya “had worked hard” in sex offenders programs and thought he used pornography to cope with negative emotions.

Both psychologists thought he had post-traumatic stress disorder.

When convicting him, Chief Justice McCallum warned him that if he committed another offence of this kind, he would go to jail due to mandatory sentencing laws.

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