Kye Tanson outside a Brisbane court. File picture
Kye Tanson outside a Brisbane court. File picture

How paedophile photographer found child victims

A CHILDREN'S photographer who befriended single parents at support groups and joined board game meetings at local libraries in order to molest children has pleaded guilty to years of sickening sexual abuse against boys and girls.

In the Brisbane District Court on Wednesday, "fine art photographer" Kye John Tanson faced a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to more than 60 child sex offences, including 11 counts of rape against 15 children, aged as young as nine, over almost 20 years.

Crown prosecutor Chris Cook told the court Tanson's offending was in the most serious category and involved manipulating families and children for his own "sick purposes".

Kye Tanson.
Kye Tanson.

The court heard the horrific sexual offences occurred in Bundaberg, Brisbane and other areas of south east Queensland between 1997 and 2006.

At age 18, Tanson began his predatory behaviour, forcing a 15-year-old to perform oral sex and telling him the pair should "kept what happened between themselves".

Six years later, Tanson began seeking out teenage girls, holding sleepovers where he would get them drunk and digitally rape them while they slept, the court today heard.

In his mid-20s, the man met a 13-year-old girl at a medieval re-enactment group and told her family he was a "safe zone".

"He would use public events, public forums, to get close to victims and their families …," Mr Cook told the court.

"He said he used photography to help troubled teens get out of their homes and away from their parents."

The court heard Tanson forced many of the children to play the game "truth or dare" and Tanson dared the 13-year-old girl to kiss another child.

The 13-year-old later woke up one evening in her underwear having photos taken of her.

In another incident, he digitally raped a 12-year-old girl at a sleepover while she was sleeping, the court heard.

After having his own child, Tanson began attending a support group for "parents without partners" at the Chermside Library and began to befriend single mothers, the court heard.

"He said he had dealings with at-risk teens," Mr Cook told the court.

He later became a close friend of a family with a nine-year-old girl, who he began "tutoring".

Tanson digitally raped and bit her nipple while she slept, before the girl woke up and he stopped.

To find his next victim, Tanson began attending board game meets that children frequented to play the game Critical Mass.

Here, he met a boy who he tied up and photographed, as well as showed pornography too.

Between 2011-2012, Tanson began a "relationship" with a 15-year-old girl.

The man, who was aged 32 at the time, encouraged the girl to get a birth control implant and told her he would marry her.

Tanson's paedophilia reached a peak in 2013, when he targeted a random 13-year-old girl on the internet and asked her to model for photographs.

When they met he drugged her with sleeping pills, anally raped her while she was handcuffed to a bed and plied her with alcohol, the court was told.

Tanson also took illicit images of the girl and slept with her sister.

Six months after his arrest, in June 2017, Tanson confessed to many of the offences, the court heard.

"Mr Tanson cunningly won the trust of these children but also their families," Mr Cook said.

"That enabled him to have access to offend …

"He was a master manipulator … he set out in a calculated way …"

Mr Cook said Tanson was motivated by his "sick" sexual fantasies and had a "callous willingness to exploit friendships to satisfy his fixated needs".

He told the court there was "no hope" Tanson could be rehabilitated and the community needed to be protected from the "dangerous" and "committed paedophile".

He will be sentenced this afternoon.