A 73-year-old man has been sentenced in Hervey Bay District Court for being in possession of child exploitation material. Photo: File.
A 73-year-old man has been sentenced in Hervey Bay District Court for being in possession of child exploitation material. Photo: File.

'Upstanding' man lies about sickening child porn collection

AN "UPSTANDING member of society" has been caught in possession of hundreds of sickening child porn images and videos.

Hervey Bay District Court Judge Richard Jones heard how John Nelson Montaldo, 73, initially lied to police about possessing the material when his home was searched on April 30 last year.

He later pleaded guilty to being in possession of more than 100 unique child exploitation files.

The content, kept on a hard drive, included cartoon and computer generated material as well as 38 videos of children younger than 13 engaging in sexual acts with adults.

The 73-year-old learnt his fate in Hervey Bay District Court yesterday.

Judge Jones heard the hard drive containing the material had been given to Montaldo by a friend several years ago.

Defence barrister Phillip Hardcastle said the device had been left lying untouched for some time before looking at the shocking pictures and videos.

"It doesn't excuse his actions, he should have deleted the material but it does strengthen the argument my client should be considered for a probation order," Mr Hardcastle said.

Crown prosecutor Brendan White asked whether Montaldo's actions could be considered innocent, given he viewed the videos more than once.

Mr Hardcastle told Judge Jones it was unlikely that Montaldo would willingly disclose to police he had the material.

"It is natural instinct for people to protect themselves," he argued.

The defence handed up several medical documents in mitigation of sentence.

"This is not a case of you just knowing about the contents of the hard drive," Judge Jones said.

"You opened the files and viewed them, even if only occasionally."

Judge Jones looked over at Montaldo in the dock when he said possessing child exploitation material was not a victimless crime.

He pointed out the offence had a maximum sentence of 14 years.

"This type of offending sustains the industry that preys on young children," Judge Jones said.

"How will the victims live normal lives?"

Judge Jones said the sexual exploitation of children would continue if people were not stopped from viewing such images and videos.

"A strong personal and public deterrence must come from sentencing, but your personal circumstances, health and otherwise clean criminal history must be taken into account," Judge Jones said.

"Other than these offences, you have been an upstanding member of society."

Montaldo was sentenced to six months in prison, wholly suspended.

An operational period of 18 months was imposed.

The conviction was recorded.



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