Criminal investigation meets virtual reality

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Virtual ten-year-old girl leads to pedophile conviction in Australia

A global sting operation involving a virtual ten-year-old girl named Sweetie has led to the conviction of a registered sex offender in Australia, marking what is believed to be the first conviction since the avatar was created last year by a Dutch rights group. Scott Robert Hansen, 37, pleaded guilty to three counts in a Brisbane court this week, admitting to possessing images of child sexual abuse and sending lewd pictures of himself to Sweetie. Workers from the charity Terre des Hommes went undercover in chatrooms for ten weeks last year, posing as Philippine girls and using Sweetie to lure potential predators via webcam. The group says it never actively approached predators, waiting instead for them to contact Sweetie, and that its researchers stopped all conversations once a user offered the young girl money to perform sexual acts. ….[READ]

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