MP’s son pleads guilty to child sex offences

A QUEENSLAND MP's son, who suffers dwarfism, has admitted to using a fake Facebook account to trick young girls into sending him nude photographs.

Daniel James Knuth, son of the KAP Member for Hill Shane Knuth, pleaded guilty to 35 child sex offences when he faced Townsville District Court on Friday.

The court heard Knuth created a fake Facebook profile in late 2016 to talk to girls after no one would talk to him on his real profile.

Crown prosecutor Dominique Orr said Knuth portrayed himself as Jack Thomason, a personal trainer from Townsville.

Ms Orr said Knuth engaged in sexually explicit conversations with 27 child victims between October 2016 and September 2017.

 

 

The court heard Knuth got aggressive towards at least two of the girls after they denied to send him pictures of themselves.

Ms Orr said on one occasion he threatened a child claiming he would get people to rape and bash her saying "you're dead now".

MP Shane Knuth sat silent but at times appeared emotional as the details of his son's offending were read out in court.

Ms Orr labelled Knuth a "sexual predator" who preyed on vulnerable children.

She said he would first make contact with the girls, usually call them "hot" or "sexy" and ask them for their age.

The children involved were aged between 12 and 15 and Knuth would often tell them they were attractive for their age.

Knuth sent the children photographs of male models, often naked, which he claimed to be himself.

Ms Orr said he asked almost all the children for nude photographs and occasionally asked them to perform sexual acts on him if they were to "meet up".

"He asked a child if she would give him 'good head' and she declined," Ms Orr said.

"(On one occasion he sent) 'show me your tits so I know you are serious'.

"(Another time) he said 'when you show me a good pic I'll know you really want to ****'."

The court heard on two occasions, adult members of girls' families had messaged Knuth questioning why he had contacted a child.

Ms Orr said the victims included children from interstate and it was police in NSW that first became aware of his offending behaviour.

When Queensland Police raided his Charters Towers home on September 24, 2017 he handed over his phone and computer.

They found him in possession of 14 images that had been sent to him by children on Facebook and a number of other photos and videos deemed child exploitation material.

Defence barrister Bruce Gillan said Knuth had never had positive experiences when advancing on members of the opposite sex and didn't understand that what he was engaging in was "child porn".

Mr Gillan said Knuth never intended to actually meet any of the girls he contacted.

He said the 21-year-old had undergone 17 surgeries to date to correct bone deformities and given his medical condition prison would be a very difficult environment for him.

Judge Greg Lynham said he had never seen this type of criminal behaviour with such a high level of victims and he was minded to sentence Knuth to an actual stint behind bars.

Judge Lynham adjourned the sentence in order to receive advice form Corrective Services about the vulnerabilities of people with dwarfism in a prison environment.

Outside court MP Shane Knuth commented while his son stayed silent.

"We love our son, obviously we don't condone what he's done … we'll move on from here but obviously I can't say anymore because it's before the court," Mr Knuth said.

"It's all hard but at the same time we just have to wait until further information is provided."

Daniel James Knuth has pleaded guilty to 27 counts of using internet to procure a child, seven counts of involving children in making cild exploitation material and one count of possessing child exploitation material.

He was granted bail and will be back before the courts in February 2019.



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