A paedophile caught in a nationwide operation offered to pay a man $500 to experience ''sexual gratification'' with a young boy, according to a police court summary.
The paedophile, Aaron Ellmers, 41, appeared in Hastings District Court this morning and pleaded guilty to a raft of child sex offences that the Crown has described amongst the country's worst.
One of the offences involved Ellmers travelling to Christchurch where a man had offered an 18-month-old boy to him for $500.
The father was arrested and is facing charges related to the incident. He has name suppression.
Ellmers was arrested before he could offend against the toddler.
He pleaded guilty to more than 20 charges making a copy of an objectionable publication and of possessing, unlawful sexual connection with a boy under 12, 11 charges of indecently assaulting a boy under 12, stupefying another person, making an intimate visual recording, making a ''forced labour'' deal using a person under 18 for sex, attempting sexual contact with a boy aged under 2, doing an indecent act to insult and attempting unlawful sexual connection with a boy under 12.
Ellmers was part of an international paedophile ring smashed by police, said Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael, head of the Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand.
Michael said the operation began in July last year and involved staff across the country and overseas.
Two other men, one in Canterbury and one in Auckland, were also facing criminal charges.
Police also made 35 referrals to police overseas.
As bad as Ellmers' offending is, it is the actions of the Christchurch parent that we find completely and utterly repulsive. What kind of parent offers to hire out a toddler to someone else's sexual gratification. It is people like the Christchurch man who enable people like Ellmers to offend.
We make no apologies for publishing this, even though the subject matter appalls and sickens us. We hope that CYFS is involved with the Christchurch family, and that the 18-month-old can be given the kind of protection that every young child in New Zealand deserves; not to be betrayed by those closest to him.
And we are pleased to see that the Crown is seeking a heavy sentence against Ellmers, who has form:
Ellmers had served a prison sentence in Australia before being deported to New Zealand.
He lived in Australia between 1999 and 2008. In 2004 he sexually abused an 8-year-old boy, whom he had groomed after befriending his parents.
He served five years in prison and was deported back to New Zealand in 2008.
In court this morning Crown lawyer Steve Manning said it was among the worst offending of its kind. He asked for the matter to be moved to the High Court as an application for preventative detention would be made.
Ellmers' lawyer Liz Litt opposed the change of jurisdiction, but Judge Bridget Mackintosh transferred it to the High Court.
An application for name suppression by Litt was declined.
Ellmers will be sentenced in May.
Preventative detention would be a highly appropriate sentence for this offending. Children need to be protected from sexual predators such as the men involved in this tragic case.