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Web manhunt child abuser gets 20 years

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A US child abuser who became the target of an internet manhunt last year has been jailed for nearly 20 years after abusing boys as young as six.

Wayne Nelson Corliss, 60, was sent to prison for 19 and a half years and ordered to pay $5,000 by a court in Newark, New Jersey on Monday, AFP reports.

Corliss was arrested in May last year after Interpol took the unusual step of launching an appeal to uncover the identity of a man depicted in images of child abuse. The move came after Norwegian police recovered images of the abuse but were unable to identify the perpetrator.

Cropped images from the vile photographs depicting Corliss alone were posted on Interpol's website. Corliss was arrested two days later, following a tip-off from the public.

Corliss subsequently pleaded guilty to traveling to Thailand annually between 2000 and 2002 in order to abuse youngsters and to paying for "unfettered access to his victims". He also admitted the production and possession of images depicting child sexual abuse. Corliss's admitted abuse of youngsters allegedly took place at the Thai home of a Canadian expatriate now awaiting US trial on related offences.

"Wayne Corliss is a determined sexual predator who traveled the world to engage in horrible conduct with helpless young victims," Paul Fishman, the US attorney for New Jersey. "The length of the sentence will ensure that Corliss will never have the opportunity to prey on anyone else."

Interpol Secretary General Ronald K Noble said the tough punishment handed out to Corliss ought to act as deterrent.

"What is also clear from our appeal is that members of the public are ready and willing to help police identify and arrest child sexual predators who would otherwise continue to use the internet to maintain their anonymity and to travel to prey on young victims," Noble said in an Interpol statement on the case.

"The days when child sex predators could travel internationally to violate innocent children without fear of being identified, prosecuted and convicted are over."

Two other Americans, Burgess Lee Burgess, aged 45 and Mitchell Kent Jackson, aged 32 were each recently jailed for six years and five months after they both admitted to visiting Thailand between 2000 and 2002 to have sex with young boys. Each admitted corresponding with Wayne Nelson Corliss prior to their trips.

The Corliss case marked only the second time Interpol launched a public appeal for a suspected paedophile using the internet. The first such appeal involved the reconstruction of digital images leading to the arrest of Canadian Christopher Paul Neil. Neil was tracked down and arrested in Thailand. He was subsequently tried and sent to jail for three years. ®

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