American gets 84 years for online abuse of Filipino girls

A 56-YEAR-OLD American national who sexually abused underage Filipino girls while filming and then selling it online has been sentenced to over 84 years in prison by a United States (US) court.

Anthony Shultz of Lindborg, Kansas pleaded guilty to three counts of producing child pornography in July 2018 before US District Judge Eric Melgren of the District of Kansas. The US Department of Justice announced Shultz’ sentencing in a statement dated August 8, 2019.

During separate rescue operations in 2017, Philippine authorities rescued three girls aged 10, 15 and 17 at the time – who were seen in child sexual abuse materials that Shultz produced and distributed online.

Investigation by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that Shultz sexually abused minor girls in the Philippines. He filmed himself while engaging in sex acts with the children and sold the videos online.

The rescues took place in Olongapo City on January 18, 2017; Bacolod City on May 5, 2017; and the province of Cavite on September 20, 2017.

In one of the videos, Shultz is seen giving instructions to the mother of the 10-year-old victim rescued in Bacolod to expose and sexually abuse her own daughter and live stream it in exchange for money. The mother, who is in hiding, has been charged with violations of Republic Act (RA) 10364 (amended Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act), RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act), and RA 7610 (Anti-Child Abuse Law).

Law enforcement units involved in the rescue operations were the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) – Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, WCPC – Visayas Field Unit, Bacolod City Police Office, the Police Regional Office in Negros Island Region, and the National Bureau of Investigation – Anti-Human Trafficking Division.

These operations were an offshoot of Shultz’s arrest in July 2016 in the US for multiple counts of child pornography.

“Child sex offenders are the ‘minds and money’ fueling the rampant sexual abuse of children worldwide. The 84-year sentence of Shultz sends a strong message and is deserved considering his repeated sexual abuse of Filipino children online and in person. Strong sentences like this one against offenders who produce and distribute child sexual abuse materials serve as an example to other countries whose citizens also fuel the demand for child sexual abuse and exploitation,” said lawyer John Tanagho, director of International Justice Mission – Cebu Field Office.

“It’s time for all demand-side countries to take more seriously their global responsibility to punish, restrain and deter OSEC offenders through sentencing that reflects the gravity of the offenses and protects vulnerable children worldwide,” he added.

OSEC is a crime that violates the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act or Republic Act (RA) 9208 (as amended by RA 10364), which comes with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P2 million to P5 million pesos. Typical OSEC offenses also violate RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012), RA 9775 (Anti Child Pornography Act of 2009) and RA 7610 (Child Abuse Law). Each of these violations have penalties equivalent to 12 to 40 years imprisonment.

At present, in IJM-supported cases, 69 persons have been convicted in the Philippines for perpetrating OSEC. Since 2011, IJM has supported Philippine law enforcement agencies in the arrest of 223 OSEC perpetrators and the rescue of 525 victims and children at-risk across the country.

You may report a suspected case of OSEC by texting ENDOSEC 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 (02) 310-4255 or 0928-604-6425 for Mindanao.