Aust diplomat propositioned NZ boy for sex

A former senior Australian diplomat propositioned a 15-year-old New Zealand boy for sex, a Melbourne court was told.

John Alphonse Cornelius Finnin, 53, offered financial incentives to the boy in exchange for sex, telling him they would have "a secret together", The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Finnin was found guilty last month in Victorian County Court of 23 charges of entering into an agreement for the provision of sexual services by a child, using a carriage service to groom a minor, procure a minor for sex, and transmitting child pornography.

An Australian Federal Police agent, Svetlana Palmer, tendered a copy of an internet chat session between Finnan known as "Johnno", and "tinyass15" from New Zealand.

During the chat, "Johnno" discussed visiting New Zealand in May 2007 to see the boy and paying him for sex.

"I promise if I like you, I will keep coming and paying for you. We will have a secret together."

The court was told that after the chatroom session, Finnin viewed web pages including a New Zealand holiday guide.

The jury heard other evidence that Finnin recorded personal details of under-age boys he met online.

The Herald said that the Australian Trade Commission told Finnin he was under police investigation for alleged child sex offences, and allowed hime to resign quietly.

Finnin held a top-secret security clearance from the Federal Government until July 2006, at a time it was alleged he was involved in an international child sex ring. No charges were laid on this matter.

Austrade was told Finnin was suspected of using his diplomatic status and access to Australian embassies around the world to traffic in young children for sex.

The newspaper said the government agency later took the unusual step of recalling Finnin from Germany - where he was deputy consul-general and head of trade for Europe, the Middle East and Africa - and informed him that he was under investigation.

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