An Australian man previously sentenced to life in prison for human trafficking and rape in the Philippines has been sentenced to an additional 129 years in prison for sexually abusing children as young as 18 months, according to prosecutors.
Peter Gerard Scully, his Filipino girlfriend Lezyl Margallo and two accomplices have been charged with 60 felonies, including child molestation, human trafficking, rape and syndication of child pornography, Merlynn Barola-Uy, a prosecutor in the southern city of Cagayan de Oro, told CNN on Wednesday.
Margallo was sentenced to 126 years in prison, the two accomplices to nine years each.
All four were sentenced on Nov. 3 after reaching a plea agreement, Barola-Uy said, describing the sentencing as a “sweet victory.”
“The victim survivors and their families, along with the prosecution team, have been consistent since day one in their determination to fight Peter Scully and crush every (delaying) tactic he used,” the prosecutor said.
“They all want to end this dark phase in their lives and move on,” added Barola-Uy.
The offenses date back to 2012 and are among dozens of charges filed against Scully following his arrest in 2015.
In 2018, the Australian and his former partner Carme Ann Alvarez were sentenced to life in prison on six counts of human trafficking and rape involving seven children – one of whom was killed and buried in one of the couple’s rented homes in Surigao City, according to According to the Philippine State News Agency (PNA).
The cases against Scully have put a spotlight on the Philippines’ ongoing fight against online child sexual exploitation.
In 2020, a report by the Washington-based International Justice Mission described the Philippines as a global dark spot for online sex abuse, saying youth are vulnerable due to a combination of entrenched poverty, high internet connectivity and opaque international money transfer systems.
Two years later, a study by UNICEF, Interpol, and ECPAT International, a global network of organizations against child sexual exploitation, found that about 20% of Filipino internet-using children aged 12-17 had some had experienced some form of online sexual abuse.
In August, members of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s cabinet told a news conference that the country had declared an “all-out war” on online child sexual exploitation.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla pledged at the conference to prosecute and jail people who sexually exploit minors online, but did not detail how the law and its enforcement could be strengthened.