A former West Australian police officer is behind bars after pleading guilty to accessing and possessing child sex abuse material, which he then discussed and forwarded to users in online chat rooms.
- The material showed children as young as two months being abused
- A judge dismissed Michael Richard Tyler’s claims his crimes were “fantasy”
- Tyler did not seek bail and remains in custody for sentencing
WARNING: This story contains content that some readers may find upsetting.
Michael Richard Tyler, 38, was a senior constable stationed in the Mid West city of Geraldton last year, when he used social media apps such as Discord and WhatsApp to discuss sexually abusing children.
The District Court was told a search of his electronic devices discovered thousands of messages that included discussions about drugging and raping children.
During some of those discussions, Tyler also forwarded images and videos of children as young as two months being abused.
In one exchange, Tyler and a woman talked about abusing an eight-year-old girl while they were babysitting her.
In a different conversation with another woman, the discussion centred around about being abusive parents.
Crimes followed ‘tumultuous few years’
Tyler’s lawyer Clint Hampson told the court the offences took place after his relationship broke down and his former partner took their children overseas.
Dr Hampson said that had a “profound effect” on Tyler’s mental health and triggered what he called “a tumultuous few years” that included drug addiction.
The court heard Tyler then met a woman on Tinder, who talked about abusing a child.
“He accepts that once he was introduced to this, he’s gone and offended,” Dr Hampson submitted.
It was revealed during the hearing that a female co-offender had been sentenced earlier this year over her “online chats” with Tyler.
She claimed she had been coerced by him into taking part, despite having no interest in child abuse material.
Judge dismisses ‘fantasy’ claims
Tyler’s sentencing was adjourned until November after Judge Charlotte Dawson said a psychological report was needed to determine the extent of his sexual interest in children.
Judge Dawson said in some of the material before her, Tyler had referred to his crimes being “fantasy”, which she highlighted was not the case.
“This isn’t fantasy, these are real children, real victims,” she said.
“To see the word fantasy, that is offensive … it is clearly erroneous.”
Tyler did not seek bail and was remanded in custody.