A 52-year-old Melbourne man has been sentenced to 18 and a half years’ imprisonment today (Monday 30 March, 2020), after sexually abusing children in the Philippines.
The Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET) executed a search warrant at the man’s property in Truganina on 15 June, 2017, and later charged the man in relation to 35 serious child sex and exploitation offences.
The offender, who was employed as an international flight attendant with a commercial airline, travelled to the Philippines on a regular basis in both private and professional capacities and offended on 25 separate occasions over a seven-year period (between 2010 – 2017).
The JACET identified 26 female child victims in the Philippines aged between 12 and 17 years old as a result of the investigation and utilised the AFP International Network to engage with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to locate victims for welfare purposes.
The offender was sentenced to 18 and a half years’ imprisonment with a minimum parole period of 14 years.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Northern Command Lesa Gale said offences against children are increasing and international borders are no hindrance to predators.
“Commonwealth authorities are dedicated to fighting child sexual exploitation both abroad and at home and bringing those who commit these offences to justice,” she said.
View the full media release at the Australian Federal Police website here: https://www.afp.gov.au/news-media/media-releases/australian-flight-attendant-jailed-abuse-children-overseas
On 20 March 2020, new offences for failing to protect children from and failing to report child sexual abuse came into effect.
The offences were created by the Combatting Child Sexual Exploitation Legislation Amendment Act 2019 and will apply to Commonwealth officers who exercise care, supervision or authority over children.
The introduction of offences action recommendations 33 and 36 of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s Criminal Justice Report, and are intended to improve the way Commonwealth officers with responsibility for children to proactively take steps to protect children from, and report, child sexual abuse.
A 35-year-old New South Wales woman has been charged with two child abuse offences following an Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation into allegations the woman was sharing and producing child abuse material featuring a child known to her.
Enquiries by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) into the identity of the offender identified a 35-year-old Armidale woman as the alleged user of the encrypted messaging service.
The woman was arrested yesterday (26 March 2020) after AFP officers executed a search warrant at the woman’s Armidale property. The investigation into the woman’s online activities began following a report from a member of the public that a woman was using an international encrypted messaging service to share child abuse material of a child known to her, as well as offering the child to strangers to be sexually abused.
The woman was charged with using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material and producing child abuse material for use through a carriage service, contrary to sections 474.22 and 474.23 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for these offences is 15 years imprisonment.
AFP Acting Commander ACCCE and Child Protection Operations Paula Hudson said that despite the current COVID-19 crisis the AFP and the ACCCE, as well as state and territory partners, will not lose focus on combatting child exploitation.
“Our officers are still working diligently to identify and prosecute those who prey on our children. Our work to put a stop to the sexual exploitation of children, be it online or physical abuse, will not stop for anything.” She said.
“Even now as our society grapples with this health crisis, this is a warning to would-be offenders that we are still active and we will still catch you.
”Members of the public who have any information about people involved in the possession or sharing of child exploitation material are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
You can also make a report online by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report.
View the full media release at the Australian Federal Police website here: https://www.afp.gov.au/news-media/media-releases/new-south-wales-woman-charged-child-exploitation-offences
A 49-year-old Palmerston man is scheduled to appear in Darwin Local Court this morning (10 March 2020) after the Northern Territory Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (NT JACET) charged him with the alleged possession of child abuse material.
Officers from the South Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (SA JACET) conducted inquiries into the online activities of a user allegedly accessing child abuse material via peer-to-peer networks.
Using specialised training in child protection systems, delivered by the US-based Child Rescue Coalition at the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) in Brisbane, further alleged accessing of child abuse material was identified.
Subsequent investigations by SA JACET identified the user as residing in the Northern Territory and the matter was referred to the NT JACET for further investigation.
On 28 February 2020 members of the NT JACET, with assistance from Northern Territory Police, executed a search warrant at a home in the Palmerston suburb of Farrar. Investigators seized three laptops, two internal hard drives and a USB drive which police will allege contain child abuse material.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Northern Command Lesa Gale said a coordinated approach to combatting offences against children is key to bringing offenders before court.
“From July 2019 to date the ACCCE received more than 11,000 reports of child exploitation involving Australians or Australian children,” AC Gale said.
“If we are to combat a problem of this size and scale then law enforcement has to work together.”
View the full media release at the Australian Federal Police website here:
The Queensland Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (QLD JACET) has charged a 55-year-old Brisbane man with 44 offences in relation to the alleged sexual exploitation of children both online and while he was travelling in the Philippines.
The man is due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning to answer these charges.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Northern Command Lesa Gale said offences against children online are increasing and international borders are no hindrance to online predators.
“The AFP and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) works with international partners to take all necessary action to identify and rescue children from sexual exploitation, not just in Australia but also internationally,” she said.
“From July 2019 to date the ACCCE has received more than 11,000 reports of child exploitation involving Australians or Australian children.
View the full media release at the Australian Federal Police's website.
Our very own Senior Constable Danielle Leske has been declared the AFP Detective of the Year, presented by AFP Commissioner Reece P Kershaw and AFP Deputy Commissioner Investigations Ian McCartney, on Friday 14 Feb 2020.
Danielle was nominated for her role in managing Operation Bayldon, a Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team investigation into one of Australia’s most heinous child sex offender. As a result of Danielle’s investigation, the offender was convicted of 51 counts of the most serious child sex offences, and in May last year and was sentenced to more than 40 years imprisonment. This sentence is the longest ever handed to a child sex offender in Australia.
Danielle’s commitment to the protection of children from exploitation saw her deploy innovative technical solutions and utilise a victim-centric approach to review more than 900,000 images and videos of child exploitation.
She showed true dedication to the protection of children through working tirelessly to map the offender’s network resulting in the arrest of several prolific child sex offenders and the rescue of over 50 children.
Danielle has dedicated her professional career to the protection of women and children from harm. Child exploitation investigations of this nature require resolve and tenacity unlike any other type of investigation.
The criteria for the AFP Detective of the Year award includes, but is not limited to:
The use of innovative techniques and pioneering methodologies during an investigation
Displayed initiative and resourcefulness during an investigation
Overcame unusual obstacles involving extenuating circumstances during an investigation.
The award itself is named posthumously after our colleague AFP Detective Sergeant Carolyn Moss, who passed away in 2018 at age 41 years. AFP Detective Sergeant Moss epitomised what it is to be a Detective and importantly, was a role model for young investigators in the AFP.
Danielle was one of two recipients this year.
On Wednesday, 19 February 2020, AFP Commissioner Reece P Kershaw, joined the CEO of Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) Nicole Rose and the CEO of Australia Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) Michael Phelan APM, at the National Press Club to talk about the fight against online child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Together they spoke about the number of disturbing trends in recent years regarding child sexual exploitation. This included the severity of violence used against children, the age of victims getting younger, and the increasing volume and dissemination of violent child abuse material.
Commissioner Kershaw highlighted the work of the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) in multi-agency collaboration to stop the exploitation of children.
“The ACCCE is working on an enhanced victim identification capability, at the national and international level, coordinating our fight and sharing the burden,” Commission Kershaw said.
“These investments are important because our people who police these crimes are doing a tough job. We owe them this: if they will do the worst job, we need to give them the best tools.”