A Philippine court sentenced an alleged Australian pedophile and his Filipina partner to life imprisonment Wednesday for operating a lucrative cybersex business that used children, officials said.
Judge Jose Escobido of the regional trial court in the southern city of Cagayan de Oro found the couple, Peter Gerard Scully, 55, and Carmen Ann Alvarez, guilty of qualified trafficking and sexual assault. Scully was also convicted separately of rape and given an additional nine years in jail.
Escobido was not immediately available for comment. A courtroom source said the two defendants were escorted by heavily armed police as they left the building.
“I can confirm that Scully was convicted of five counts of rape by sex assault and for qualified trafficking,” the source said.
Scully and Alvarez were caught in 2014 in a police raid at their apartment near Cagayan de Oro. Two girls, 9 and 11, whom the couple had sexually abused, had escaped and told police about Scully and Alvarez.
Police said the children were forced to perform sexual acts while being filmed, and that the video recordings were then sold by Scully to his global clients.
The victims managed to escape when Scully and Alvarez left the house to collect payment through money transfers.
Scully is also facing separate charges over the alleged rape of an 18-month-old girl and the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl in the city of Surigao, about 283 km (176 miles) northwest of Cagayan de Oro.
Scully fled to the Philippines in 2011 to evade arrest after Australian authorities filed more than 100 fraud and deception charges against him in Melbourne, according to Philippine police.
During his stay in Mindanao, the Philippines’ main southern third, until his arrest in 2015, Scully was engaged in cybersex, investigators said. He earned as much as $10,000 (U.S. $200) per view from his pedophile clients, police said.