Violinist gets just two months for making child porn

The Australian violinist Aaron Barnden was sentenced today in a County Court on Friday to two months’ jail after offering a guilty plea to producing and owning child pornography. Barnden, 43, was sacked yesterday by the string quartet in which he played. Its members had no prior idea of the charges against him.

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      • This response sadly sums up too many knee jerk followers of SD. “REAL music LOVERS “ . ‘ Where ‘
        A lot of MODERNIST ATONAL drivel. with 60 “likes”

        Do you really understand your own vacuous hyperbole, and concurrence ?

        Or are you all “ OLD FASHIONEDISTS “ ?

        And I listen to and enjoy a very wide variety of musical genre, I cannot be “a real music lover “

      • So Berg’s Lulu, Wozzek, Altenberg Lieder , Piano Sonata, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire , 5 Orchestral Pieces, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring etc etc all drivel, the whole lot?

          • Please explain the meaning of ‘real modernist atonal drivel”. The atonal pieces I mentioned are certainly not “the whole lot” just a selection, hence the ‘etc etc’

  • It’s a shocking sentence. There is often some relaxation of sentence when an accused pleads guilty, but this is preposterous. we have seen no links on the actual case detailing the accusations and evidence, but if he was actually PRODUCING child porn, he ought to be locked up for a very long time.

  • I am sorry for his family and friends who will serve a much longer sentence. As to his victims, they will serve a lifetime; if they allow themselves to live. As to JUSTICE? It is often difficult to see who is the judge and who is the criminal. Such a sentence is a bruise upon a bruise for the victims and families, and is no deterrent. Stay healthy!

    • You’ve nailed it. And I want to know why judges are still not accountable to society when every other profession has been forced to be over the years.

  • Most musos in Melbourne know Aaron. So there is a lot of shock and grief going around to add to the general anxiety due to zero work opportunities currently. Covid has hit the music scene very hard here. We thought we knew Aaron and cared about him and his struggle to survive as a freelance musician with barely enough work along with what appeared to be an autism related impediment to being able to socialise comfortably. The portrayal of Aaron as a renowned violinist is not correct. He is a very good one, but lived hand to mouth. I cannot face him again, but have the confused feelings of shock, dismay, sadness for Aaron and disgust. No doubt many Melbourne musos are feeling the same right now. Yes, two months in prison is short in the circumstances, but knowing Aaron, two months or twenty years will have the same impact. Sure, he deserves it. One hopes there is some form of rehabilitation.

    • Alfred, I sympathise with your sorrow, but most of what you say can be appled to his little victim(s) who may not recover, and their families. Think what it is like, as a parent, to feel guilty that one did not do enought to protect their child.

      • @Maybe: It goes without saying that we are all extremely saddened and horrified by what the victims would have been through- and will go through in the future. And that that toll is immense and unforgivable for the children- but as Alfred says, many of us knew Aaron personally- and find this revelation disgusting and shocking- and so hard to reconcile with the person that we thought we knew. I shared rides with him to gigs many times, had amusing and quirky conversations. He was an odd man- but I thought I knew him. Our grief as a community at losing the person we thought we knew, does not diminish or compete with the suffering of the children. It is still a difficult and painful situation.

      • Dear Maybe,
        We are musicians and parents. We recognise a wide range of deep feelings, and are challenged to have compassion, widely, even when it is not comfortable. Most of all we love and protect our children, whilst teaching them about those who may harm them, and yes, also to have compassion and to make judgements based on facts and having properly read or listened to what folks are trying to communicate.

    • Well, I’m just so sorry you’re shocked, and grief-stricken. Meanwhile, the CHILDREN that this POS abused might just be going through the littlest bit more grief than you. I don’t know in what world two months in prison would ever “have the same impact” as twenty years, but twenty years is not enough for a guilty plea to producing child pornography. Fortunately, two months is more than enough for his fellow inmates to find out why he’s there and send him out in a body bag, which they so frequently do, and I look forward to the Slipped Disc report on just that occurrence. The only “rehabilitation” he can look forward to will most likely involve the fluorescent lights of a communal shower, futile screams for the guard, and some shivs painstakingly carved from government issue toothbrushes. It’s too good for him, autism related impediment or no.

      • ok, i was not going to weigh in on this, but as someone who knew and worked with him for years, yes, this comes as a total shock. one would have had no idea. and it is horrifying.. but wishing death on someone is simply cruel and inhumane.

      • Inciting hatred and condoning violence is hardly an acceptable answer to any thing that we are talking about on this channel . You seem to take great relish in the doling out of violence and murder.
        In fact you sound as if you are quite excited by it

      • The charge of producing child pornography in this case referred to Barnden’s photoshopping of faces onto other bodies. While that itself is deeply disturbing, horrific and indefensible, it is worth making the specific distinction that he did not keep children locked up in a basement, given that readers here appear to be under the impression that the latter is the case. What transpired is not a victimless crime though, and 2 months is obviously still far too lenient a term.

        • To be clear, according to the Herald Sun article, Barnden did not photograph or video children himself, he cobbled together already existing material from the internet. His crime did not involve any direct interaction with children. The nature of the material described is nonetheless disturbing and this act itself is obviously indefensible.

          • Thanks Gerald for some insight. I couldn’t find how to read the article and as a muso who worked with him regularly becoming a friend, this is a bit of a relief although as you say, is still disturbing. Colleagues are asking why and are just in shock.

        • It simply bells the cat; the courts take the charge less seriously than we do. I have grandchildren and so help me god…….(fill in the blanks).

      • I think you will find that incitement to commit a crime, in your case murder, is itself a crime. In any case, you should certainty hate the crime but not the criminal.

    • The reference to two months or twenty years having the same impact is moot. The point is not so much to have an impact on him — it’s to protect the world from him. The world won’t be safe from him for very long.

  • It takes years to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it and the best you can say for him is that he is a victim of his demons. He will not be able to teach and will find it difficult to play anywhere. If he had killed a child by dangerous driving and received a longer sentence he would have been able to rehabilitate himself as we have all driven badly at times, but what he did was evil.

  • Australian law is generally very strict on crimes like this. Even cartoons depicting child sex are outlawed. See “Simpsons cartoon rip-off is child porn: judge”
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/simpsons-cartoon-ripoff-is-child-porn-judge-20081208-6tmk.html

    I suspect the psychiatric examination determined that he was a good candidate for rehabilitation. I read the wiki page on Australian law and see that a conviction puts people on a public sex offender registry. That in itself is an extremely harsh penalty.

    https://www.qt.com.au/news/federal-budget-dedicates-78-million-for-child-sex-/3688907/

      • Thanks for the update. Looking at the posts below this and finding out that there were no victims, because all he did was Photoshop internet images, I think the sentence is ridiculously harsh. Basically what he did amounts to a thought crime.

  • This case came to public attention last week with the publication of an article detailing the guilty plea. It appears from the article there was no physical molestation, the production of the material involved the use of photoshop with images from the internet.

  • Scream all you want, but without any facts, you don’t know the actual case or basis for the charges. Such a light sentence suggests that it was an extremely minimal case, which can happen. He may not have directly harmed anyone. I’m not defending him, but your responses are just so much virtue-signalling.

  • Unfortunately I have not been able to read the news articles as they are behind a paywall..
    As a fellow musician I’ve known Aaron personally for many years and this revelation is deeply shocking and disturbing.

  • I had first thought that he was only convicted for possession. Who originally put those images that he photoshopped on the internet? Did Barnden receive such a light sentence because he was given immunity because he cooperated with prosecutors in implicating others?
    Was he photoshopping faces of children and putting them on adult bodies or were these the bodies of other children?
    Was he sending, or selling, or posting these photos to others either for free or for money to supplement his income?
    To Arthur– he may have received such a small sentence either because he cooperated with prosecutors OR because as a man apparently on the Aspergers spectrum the judge knew that it would be difficult form him to survive in a prison environment.

    Apart from the difficulty of a guy like him doing prison time, his career is ruined. Most musicians in his position supplement their income by teaching. However, if Australia is anything like the United States anyone who would hire him for a salaried teaching position would check the sex offenders registry, and if he is teaching privately parents might as well and spread the word.

  • Continued.

    If everything was just photoshopped and no kids were photographed nude (or worse) I suppose the problem with this photoshopping is that it encourages the attitude that sex with kids or kids having sex is o.k. and perhaps it encourages fantasies about having sex with kids. In addition there is the small possibility that the kids whose faces were used or people who know them may see these pictures and this would be traumatic.

    I understand that the reason is not the excuse and that even people with Aspergers should know right from wrong. However, if no child was molested or actually photographed nude either by Barnden or someone else, as a psychiatric nurse I believe he deserves compassion, especially as someone with a psychological disability. His career is largely already ruined.

    • How about defining exactly what child pornography is as this varies wildly from country to country. In most places it originally meant photos or videos of adults having sex with minors (age of consent also can be anything up to 18), but in response to the moral panic about the issue prosecutors kept stretching the definition to include fantasy drawings with no real children involved and even a mother’s snapshots of her kids in the bathtub. The argument prosecutors used to try to ban Lady Chatterly’s Lover in the US (I know what pornography is when I see it) is clearly insufficient. Ultimately you can’t ban fantasies and you can’t change people’s sexual orientation no matter how personally distasteful or damaging you think it is.

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