An international paedophile ring with New Zealand connections
has been exposed by police, saving four children from further
abuse, police say.
Aaron John Ellmers, 41, appeared in Hastings District Court
today where he pleaded guilty to about 60 charges including
sexual violation of children, stupefying, making an intimate
visual recording, dealing in people for sexual exploitation
and attempted sexual conduct with a child under 12.
He was remanded in custody for sentence in the High Court at
Hastings in May.
Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said it was at the "absolute
highest end'' of child sexual offending in the country, and
successfully argued for sentencing to be moved to the High
Ellmers also had a previous conviction for similar offending
in Australia, the court was told.
Two other New Zealand men, in Canterbury and Auckland, also
face several charges including sexual violation of children
and making, possessing and distributing child abuse images,
The arrests follow a police operation targeting paedophiles
in New Zealand and overseas which began in July last year and
involved staff across the country including Northland,
Auckland, eastern, Canterbury and southern districts.
As a result, four New Zealand children, aged 13 months to 13
years, had been saved from further abuse and police had made
35 referrals to authorities in Australia, the United Kingdom,
United States of America and Canada, said Detective Senior
Sergeant John Michael, head of OCEANZ, which is part of the
National Criminal Investigations Group.
"This offending is like a spider web which has got wider and
wider, involving offenders both here and overseas. Those
facing charges have allegedly abused children, recorded that
abuse and distributed it amongst themselves and overseas.''
The nature and depravity of this man's offending has "wreaked
havoc on so many lives'', said Detective Senior Sergeant
David Greig, head of the Eastern District child protection
Mr Michael said police were continuing to build their ability
to infiltrate such offending, in New Zealand and overseas.
"Child victims almost always know their offenders, who have
gained their trust and that of their parents, before the
offending occurs. We urge parents and caregivers to be alert
to the signs of this kind of abuse, but not alarmed,'' he
He urged parents who have concerns about an adult's behaviour
or find disturbing images on any computers to contact the
police or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.