36-year-old Aaron Joseph Hutton, who engaged undercover investigators with the Department of Internal Affairs under the username "Kiwipedo" has been sentenced to five years imprisonment today in the Aukland District Court for attempting to purchase a 3-year-old girl on the Dark Web.
In August 2020 Hutton pleaded guilty to possessing 417 images of child pornography and for participating in a deal involving child sexual exploitation.
During the course of his online discussion with law enforcement, Hutton had allegedly expressed an interest in purchasing a girl under the age of 7 for the sum of $15,000 for the sole purpose of sexual abuse.
These conversations took place between January 13 and February 20, 2015. Several months later, after successfully tracing his online activity, a search warrant was served at Hutton's place of employment as well as his residence. Electronic devices were taken into custody and analyzed where the images were reported to have been found in folders named "Sick and Twisted" and "Pure Evil and Darkness," as well as a solid link establishing that Hutton was in fact the user "Kiwipedo."
After he had already pleaded guilty, Hutton tried to claim that there was no actual meeting scheduled nor any intention to exchange money and that Hutton was merely engaging in a game of "cat and mouse" in order to waste the time of investigators as he knew he was speaking with law enforcement. He also attempted to blame the images of child pornography on the investigators saying that he had received them in a data dump from law enforcement.
Judge Allan Roberts rebuffed the claims stating, "I can only say all of these self-serving statements are nonsense." Judge Roberts addressed Hutton saying, "Your intended victim was 3. She was to become a sex slave."
Judge Roberts agreed with the prosecution's request that he be sentenced at minimum to four and a half years for entering into a dealing involving the sexual exploitation of a child. An additional six months was given for possession of the child pornography. The sentences are to be served consecutively.
Tim Houston, manager for the Department of Internal Affairs Digital Child Exploitation Team called the case a "successful joint operation." Houston further said, "DIA, Customs, and Police continue to work tirelessly together to investigate individuals trading in child sexual exploitation material."
"Child sexual exploitation and abuse material depicts a crime scene," he said, "and the worst moment in a child's life. Stopping the distribution of this type of material is critical because every time this material is shared the children involved in this crime are re-victimized."
Detective Sergeant Corey Brown of Waitamata Police stated, "We hope today's sentencing serves as a warning to other offenders preying on children online and distributing child exploitation material that it is only a matter of time before you are caught and prosecuted."