Lou-An Crous’ prison sentence quashed in child sex abuse videos case – home D imposed


Lou-An Crous was caught after downloading material from the MegaUpload site. Photo / NZME

This article deals with the sexual exploitation of children and babies and may be distressing.

A man who went down a pornography “rabbit hole” and watched “monstrous” child sex abuse videos has been let out of jail after a judge said prison will set back his rehabilitation and possibly increase his likelihood of reoffending.

Lou-An Crous, of Wellington, has instead been placed on the Child Sex Offender Register and will have to do home detention and any counselling or treatment directed by a probation officer.

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The 33-year-old was jailed for one year after pleading guilty to 24 charges of possessing objectionable publications.

He had been found to have 134 video files depicting the graphic sexual abuse of children and babies, saved to his desktop computer and iPhone and had watched them on multiple occasions.

Some of the videos were described as “confronting” and “monstrous” by Wellington District Court Judge Andrew Nicholls, who sent Crous to prison for 12 months last September.

However, Crous successfully appealed that sentence to the High Court, arguing that it was excessive and that home detention should have been imposed instead.

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High Court Justice Matthew Palmer quashed the jail term and re-sentenced Crous to seven months of home detention in the week before Christmas.

He said Crous, who had no previous convictions, co-operated with police and pleaded guilty, and had expressed genuine remorse and a desire for rehabilitation.

“A sentence of imprisonment will see him lose his flat, putting him at further risk of personal destabilisation and, I expect, increasing the risk of re-offending,” Justice Palmer said.

“He will not receive rehabilitation on a short sentence of imprisonment.

“Furthermore, being in prison will likely set back his rehabilitation and exacerbate the mental health issues which contributed to the offending.

“His employment prospects will inevitably be impacted,” the judge said.

Justice Matthew Palmer placed Lou-An Crous on the Child Sex Offender Register.  Photo / Supplied
Justice Matthew Palmer placed Lou-An Crous on the Child Sex Offender Register. Photo / Supplied

“In contrast, home detention will require him to engage in the rehabilitation treatment that he requires.”

A pre-sentence report assessed Crous as having a low chance of reoffending, but a risk of causing medium harm to others if he does offend again.

The home detention conditions bar Crous from having unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16, and to make any internet-capable device in his possession available to a probation officer.

He will also have to undergo an assessment for a harmful sexual behaviour programme, and attend any treatment or counselling as directed.

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When caught, Crous told police that he had gone “down a rabbit hole” looking at pornography while unemployed.

A psychiatrist’s report said Crous had long-standing problems with depression and alcohol abuse, both of which were linked to his offending and pornography use as they “likely represented an attempt to regulate his mood”.

According to a summary of facts, Crous was sent a link in late 2018 to a cloud storage service where he accessed material online.

The collection contained 686 files in total – 508 videos and 178 image files, nearly all of which showed sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

Boys and girls were shown in the videos, all pre-pubescent. The longest video outlined in the summary was nearly half an hour long.

Crous clicked on a subfolder on the MegaUpload site titled “baby”, which contained 55 files. All but one were video files, with some victims younger than 1 year old.

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Ric Stevens spent many years working for the former New Zealand Press Association news agency, including as a political reporter at Parliament, before holding senior positions at various daily newspapers. He joined NZME’s Open Justice team in 2022 and is based in Hawke’s Bay. His writing in the crime and justice sphere is informed by four years of front-line experience as a probation officer.

Source : https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/lou-an-crous-prison-sentence-quashed-in-child-sex-abuse-videos-case-home-d-imposed/WPFMK6DLO5FXZE6KQXX7IU6GME/

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Date de Publication : 2024-01-24 04:02:25

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