A 79-YEAR-OLD former police officer from California has been sentenced to 14 years and five months in prison in the United States for abusing children in the Philippines and producing images of child sexual abuse.
Michael Bruce McDonald, of Huntington Beach, California, moved to the Philippines in 2009, married a Filipino woman and sexually abused two children. He posted images of the abuse online while living in the country, according to a US Department of Justice press release shared on September 19, 2019.
Acting on a case referral from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, members of the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation-Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD) carried out an operation in Davao City on March 29, 2016. This led to McDonald’s arrest and the rescue of three girls, aged 9, 10 and 13 at the time. Because criminal charges had already been filed and were pending against McDonald in the US, he was deported to face those charges. Otherwise, he would have been prosecuted in the Philippines like other offenders.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and International Justice Mission (IJM) supported the operation and the rehabilitation of the Osec (online sexual exploitation of children) survivors.
The sexual abuse of children to create photos, videos and live-streaming is a massive global problem, with the New York Times reporting that 45 million child sexual abuse images and videos online were reported by global tech companies in 2018.
“Effective collaboration between Philippine law enforcement and foreign counterparts continues to lead to restraining and convicting traffickers and online child sex offenders alike. This 14.5-year sentence provides justice for the three Filipino child survivors of this American sex offender and protects other children from being abused by him again. On behalf of all those still exploited in Osec, IJM calls for stronger sentences globally against offenders who repeatedly create the demand for child sexual abuse materials, which include rape and torture,” said lawyer John Tanagho, IJM Cebu Field Office director.
“Moreover, for police to stop the ongoing abuse of even more children, the global community must decide that protecting children from online sexual abuse and exploitation should never take a backseat to data privacy (e.g. encryption),” Tanagho added.
So far in IJM-supported cases, 72 persons have been convicted in the Philippines for Osec since 2011. IJM has supported Philippine law
enforcement agencies in operations leading to the arrest of 227 Osec perpetrators and the rescue of 544 victims and children at-risk across the country.
You may report a suspected case of Osec by texting ENDOSEC (space) (incident details) to 7444-ATIPD or 7444-28473 (free of charge for Smart network subscribers). You may also directly connect with WCPC at (032) 410-8483 for Visayas, and 0917-180-6037 or 0928-604-6425 for Mindanao. (PR)