An Australian man already sentenced to life in prison in the Philippines for human trafficking and rape has been given an additional 129 years for sexually abusing children as young as 18 months, prosecutors say.
Peter Gerard Scully, his Filipina girlfriend Lezyl Margallo and two accomplices were charged with 60 crimes that included child abuse, trafficking, rape and the syndication of child pornography, said Merlynn Barola-Uy, a prosecutor in the southern city of Cagayan de Oro. on CNN. Wednesday.
Margallo was sentenced to 126 years in prison, while the two accomplices received sentences of nine years each.
All four were sentenced Nov. 3 after signing a plea deal, said Barola-Uy, who called the convictions a “sweet victory.”
“The victim-survivors and their families along with the prosecution team have, from day one, been steadfast in their determination to fight Peter Scully and kill all the (delay) tactics he employed,” he said the prosecutor
“They all want to close this dark phase of their lives and move on,” added Barola-Uy.
The offenses date back to 2012 and are among dozens of charges filed against Scully following his 2015 arrest.
In 2018, the Australian and his former partner Carme Ann Alvarez were sentenced to life in prison for human trafficking and rape in six cases involving seven children, one of whom was killed and buried in one of the houses of couple rental in Surigao City. , according to the state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The cases against Scully have put a spotlight on the Philippines’ enduring fight against the sexual exploitation of children online.
In 2020, a report by the Washington-based International Justice Mission described the Philippines as a global hot spot for online sexual abuse, saying young people were vulnerable due to a combination of entrenched poverty, high internet connectivity and opaque international cash transfer systems.
Two years later, a study by UNICEF, Interpol and ECPAT International, a global network of organizations against child sexual exploitation, found that about 20 percent of Filipino children using the Internet aged 12 to 17 had experienced some form of online sexual abuse. .
In August, members of the cabinet of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. they said at a press conference that the country had declared “total war” on the sexual exploitation of children online.
Justice Secretary Jesús Crispin Remulla promised at the conference to prosecute and jail those who sexually exploit minors online, but did not detail how the law and its enforcement could be strengthened.