A young couple from regional South Australia who collected thousands of files of child abuse material has been jailed, with the sentencing judge saying the crimes are difficult to fathom.
Jessica Marie Glaser, 21, and Darcie James Ranger, 26, pleaded guilty to Commonwealth and state charges relating to accessing, possessing and transmitting child abuse material.
Judge Ian Press said they had lost all moral compass when they became obsessed with the material, amassing an "extraordinary number" of files over a three-month period in 2019.
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The District Court heard there was evidence in "disturbing" chat logs between the couple that they had also talked about committing offences against children.
"It appears by this time both of you had immersed yourselves in your sexual fantasies involving children and that neither of you were treating these children as anything other than objects for sexual gratification," Judge Press said.
Ranger was sentenced to more than two years' jail with a minimum term of 11 months, while Glaser will serve just four weeks behind bars before being released on a bond under strict supervision.
Judge Press said the offending was difficult to comprehend.
"It is difficult to understand how two young people could become so immune to the suffering of the children they were viewing," he said.
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Judge Press said he was required to view a small sample of the material before sentencing the pair.
"I defy anyone viewing such material not to see the fear and uncertainly in the eyes and expressions of some of the younger victims," he said.
"That each of you were able to ignore that harm for your own sexual gratification says something about the depths to which you had descended.
"It strongly suggest the two of you had lost all perspective as you followed down this particular path into depravity."
The court heard the young offenders had both endured sad, abusive and dysfunctional childhoods and had complex mental health issues, as well as problems with alcohol and drugs including methamphetamines.
The court heard the couple had since received threats and been ostracised from the Mount Gambier community, and had moved to another south-east town.
Glaser's lawyer had asked the court for leniency, describing Glaser, who was a teenager when she committed the offending, as a "very young and vulnerable woman" who was introduced to the crimes by her partner whom she had a dependent relationship.
"Whilst Ms Glaser ended up being a willing participant, her motivations were somewhat different, and to some degree more complex," Judge Press said.
The court heard Glaser and Ranger intended to maintain their relationship, despite their imprisonment, something which troubled the sentencing judge.
Judge Press said while it was difficult to find the right balance in sentencing, he considered a four-week prison term for Glaser would be effective in demonstrating what life would be like if she returned to offending.
The pair, who faced the court through a videolink from custody, could be heard sobbing throughout the sentencing hearing.
Both will be under supervision orders when they are released from prison and will have to undergo child sex offender rehabilitation treatment.