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Cairns man charged with possessing child abuse material

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation > News and Media > Releases > 2020 > 28 Aug - QLD man


The Australian Federal Police have charged a 57-year-old Cairns man with possessing child abuse material following an investigation to the alleged payment of money to the Philippines to facilitate child abuse.

The investigation into the man's alleged activities began in July 2020 following intelligence the man was sending money remittances to the Philippines that could be facilitating the abuse of children.

Officers executed a search warrant at the man's home, in the Cairns suburb of Yorkeys Knob address yesterday afternoon.

During a search of the home police seized a number of electronic items and allegedly uncovered evidence of child abuse material on those devices.

The 57-year-old man was charged with two counts of possessing child abuse material obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence includes up to 15 year imprisonment, if convicted.

He is next due to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on 15 September 2020.

The seized devices will be subject to further forensic examination and enquiries into the man's online activities will continue.

AFP Child Protection Operations Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson said the AFP is committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse here and overseas.

"We have people working around-the-clock with our international and domestic partners to bring to justice those who seek to do harm to children and we will not stop," Detective Superintendent Hudson said.

"Just because victims may be outside of Australia doesn't make perpetrators safe from our investigations."

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation 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.

Note to media:

Use of term 'CHILD ABUSE' MATERIAL NOT 'CHILD PORNOGRAPHY'

The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

Use of the phrase "child pornography" is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

Operation Arkstone – Wyong man faces further 80 charges

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation > News and Media > Releases > 2020 > Op-Arkstone_Update_5aug


Published by AFP on Wednesday, 5 August 2020, Publish time:7:31am

Editor’s note: Arrest footage and images from the Wyong search warrant (previously unreleased) are available to download via hightail

Australian Federal Police have laid an additional 80 charges on a 29-year-old Wyong man, who was the first offender arrested under the child protection investigation known as Operation Arkstone.

Operation Arkstone is a national investigation, led by the AFP, which uncovered an Australian online network of alleged offenders accused of abusing and exploiting Australian children, and sharing the abuse online.

The investigation began in early 2020 after a tip-off from the United States’ National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to the AFP’s Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE).

The Wyong man was arrested in February 2020 for allegedly distributing and receiving child abuse material online, and initially charged with nine offences. Investigators followed the digital trail from seized electronic materials during the search warrant at his home, to uncover other alleged offenders across Australia and make further arrests, which became Operation Arkstone.

The man appeared before Wyong Local Court on Tuesday, 4 August, and was charged with 80 new offences relating to the abuse of a child known to him, and the sharing of this material online.

The charges were laid as a result of follow-up enquiries by members of the AFP’s Eastern Command Child Protection Operations team, including the forensic examination of material seized during the February warrant at his home.

It will be alleged in court that material on the man’s electronic devices and cloud storage services linked to him provided evidence he was abusing a child known to him, recording it and sharing images or footage online with other like-minded individuals.

The new charges against the Wyong man include:

  • 26 counts of commonwealth charge Section 474.22A(1) Criminal Code Act 1995 Cth),-Possess/control or disseminate Child Abuse Material (CAM) obtained or accessed using a carriage service;
  • 12 counts of Section 91H(2) Crimes Act 190 (NSW)-  Produce Child Abuse Material;
  • 8 count of Section 91G(1)(a) Crimes Act 190 (NSW) -  Use child under 14 years for production of CAM;
  • One count of section 66DF(a) Crimes Act 190 (NSW) -  Sexual Act towards child under 10 years for production of child abuse material;
  • 10 counts of Section 66DA(a) Crimes Act 190 (NSW)-  Sexual Touching – victim under 10 years;
  • One count of Section 66DC(a) Crimes Act 190 (NSW) -  Sexual Act towards child under 10 years;
  • 22 counts of Section 91H(1) Crimes Act 190 (NSW) -  Disseminate CAM.

Operation Arkstone is still ongoing and it is likely further victims and offenders will be identified, and further arrests have not been ruled out.

AFP Eastern Command Child Protection Operations Detective Sergeant Joel Wheeler said this operation serves as a warning to online offenders – the internet does not provide an anonymous veil.

“Operation Arkstone has uncovered this network of alleged offenders thanks to the dedicated work of our investigators, digital forensics specialists and our Interpol-trained victim identification experts,” Detective Sergeant Wheeler said.

“They had to comb hours of disturbing content looking for clues to find these people allegedly preying on Australian children, to bring them to justice. We are continuing to try to identify others who are involved in this disturbing network, and hunt them down and unmask them from the anonymity of the internet and put them before the courts.”

This operation was conducted with the support of United States Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) under HSI’s Operation Predator - an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators.

Adam Parks, the HSI Attaché to Australia, said the sexual abuse of children is a shameful, despicable practice.

“HSI is committed to working with our international partners to pursue justice on behalf of the victims of this heinous crime.  Child predators are on notice that the relationship between the AFP and HSI is an unbreakable alliance.  Together, we will relentlessly pursue those who would seek to harm the vulnerable.”

The AFP’s Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation – which is headquartered in Brisbane and is co-ordinating Operation Arkstone - is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting organised child abuse.

Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson of the ACCCE and AFP Child Protection Operation said investigators at the ACCCE use a range of technologies and methodologies across both the dark and clear net working tirelessly to de-anonymise people who choose to transmit, exchange and share child exploitation material.

“Our message to offenders is we will identify and arrest you,” Detective Superintendent Hudson said.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual abuse and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation 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.

Access online safety information at https://www.accce.gov.au/resources

Notes to media:

Media are reminded of their obligations to protect the identity of child victims and victims of sexual assault under s15A of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW) and s105 of the Children and Young Person (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW).

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297

Queensland man charged with child abuse material offences

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation > News and Media > Releases > 2020 > 17 July - QLD Man


A 21-year-old man is scheduled to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court today after the Queensland Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (QLD JACET) charged him with child abuse offences.

Between February and April 2020, the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a number of reports from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the United States in relation to an online user allegedly uploading child abuse material online.

A 21-year-old man was later identified as the user allegedly uploading the material.

In June 2020, officers from QLD JACET conducted a search warrant at a house in the Brisbane suburb of Wishart.

During a search of the home officers seized a mobile phone, laptop and external hard drive for forensic examination.

The man was arrested and subsequently charged with:

  • one count of accessing child abuse material contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • two counts of possessing child exploitation material, contrary to Section 228D Criminal Code Act 1899 (QLD).

He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment.

AFP Child Protection Operations Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson warned those who think uploading child abuse material is a victimless crime.

“If you use or share child abuse material, you are perpetuating the physical and emotional abuse of children, it’s as simple as that,” Detective Superintendent Hudson said.

“That’s why the work of the ACCCE and the AFP is so important, to break the cycle of abuse that this vile material continues.

“Our work with international partners like NCMEC is key to targeting those involved in supporting this horrendous industry and stopping them from causing further harm to children by spreading child abuse material.”

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation 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.

Note to media:

USE OF TERM 'CHILD ABUSE' MATERIAL, NOT 'CHILD PORNOGRAPHY'

Use of the phrase "child pornography" benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not "pornography".

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

ACCCE shared workspace pilot a success

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation > News and Media > Releases > 2020 > 16 July - NGO success


Last week saw a milestone for the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE), hosting a trial of the first collaboration with non-government organisations in the shared workspace at the facility in Brisbane.

The ACCCE facility in Brisbane is a world-class centre, with a key feature to host external agencies in spaces for both collaboration and general work, which will become business as usual for civil society and non-government stakeholders to attend.

Representatives from the Daniel Morecombe Foundation, YourTown and the StandbyU Foundation used the space to host meetings, while engaging with key operational teams in the ACCCE.

The visit also provided the opportunity to discuss potential future projects and stakeholder engagements.

The pilot was seen as a success by the participants and ACCCE representatives, which will see the space used for ongoing stakeholder opportunities as part of the ACCCE’s collaborative national approach.

SA man accused of ‘peeping tom’ offences and possessing child abuse material

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation > News and Media > Releases > 2020 > 13 July - SA Man


This is a joint media release between Australian Federal Police, the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation and South Australia Police
A 45-year-old man accused of possessing child abuse material and covertly filming adult women inside their homes is expected to face Adelaide Magistrate’s Court today (Monday, 13 July).
The South Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (SA JACET) arrested the man at his Adelaide home on Friday (10 July) after an investigation sparked by a tip to the Australian Federal Police-led Australia Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE).
The report alleged a person had been uploading abhorrent content to an online platform and SA JACET allegedly identified the 45-year-old as the man sharing the material.
He was allegedly using a female persona online to conceal his identity.
Investigators will allege that during the search of the man’s home, they found child abuse material stored on his mobile phone.
They also found a significant number of video files stored on the phone that were allegedly filmed from outside Adelaide residences and show the occupants in the homes in various stages of undress and performing sexual acts.
SA JACET will allege the 45-year-old spied on the occupants and filmed the videos from outside the homes without their knowledge.
The man was arrested and charged with:
  • One count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of indecent filming, contrary to section 26D of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA).
The offences carry a maximum penalty of between two years and 15 years imprisonment.
Australian Federal Police Detective acting Superintendent Gavin Stone said children who are sexually abused have their innocence and childhood stolen from them.
“The person viewing this abhorrent material is as complicit as the person making and distributing the product,” he said.
“Protecting children is paramount and everyone has a role to play because these are crimes against our common future.”
Detective acting Superintendent Stone said adults also have a right to feel safe and should not be spied upon in their own homes or have their private activities exposed for another person’s sexual gratification.

“We will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of anyone who tries to exploit or abuse others and this shows offending online or remotely has real-world consequences.”

Detective Superintendent Mark Wieszyk, Officer in Charge of the Public Protection Branch of South Australia Police stated: “SAPOL and AFP investigators work tirelessly together to stop the exploitation of children and will continue their efforts to keep children safe”.
The SA JACET comprises Australian Federal Police and South Australia Police officers.
The ACCCE, which is headquartered in Brisbane, is committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting organised child abuse.
The Centre brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual abuse and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.
Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation 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.
Note to media:
USE OF TERM 'CHILD ABUSE' MATERIAL, NOT 'CHILD PORNOGRAPHY'
Use of the phrase "child pornography" benefits child sex abusers because it:
indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.
Every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not "pornography".
Media enquiries
AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

Sydney man to face court on child abuse charges

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation > News and Media > Releases > 2020 > 7 Jul - Sydney Man


A 40-year-old Sydney man is due to appear before the Central Local Court on child abuse charges following an investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The investigation commenced after the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation received a report from the United States’ National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) on 11 March 2020. The report – one of several allegedly linked to the man – related to the upload of child abuse material to an email account.

Investigators from the AFP’s NSW Child Protection Operations team executed a search warrant today (7 July 2020) at the man’s residence in Hillsdale, Sydney.

During the search warrant, a number of electronic items were seized for evidentiary purposes and will be subject to forensic examination.

The man was arrested and charged with:

  • 1 x using a carriage service for child abuse material (transmit to self), contrary to Section 474.22(1) of the Criminal  Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • 2 x possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed through a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • 1 x using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to person under 16 years of age, contrary to section 474.27A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
  • He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Simone O’Mahony said, while Australian perpetrators may think using and sharing online child abuse material is ‘a simple click of the button’, the impact on victims is immeasurable.

“One image can tell a story of physical harm and lifelong trauma. One image can tell a story of rape and torture,” Detective Acting Superintendent O’Mahony said.

“The fact our investigations frequently uncover hundreds and thousands of these photos is truly horrifying. We need Australians to realise that by using and sharing child abuse material online, you are complicit in this abuse.

“Today’s outcome is another example of our tireless work with domestic and international partners in making sure alleged perpetrators face the full force of the law.”

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation 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.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

19-year-old man charged with multiple child abuse offences

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation > News and Media > Releases > 2020 > NT Man - 30 June


A 19-year-old man is scheduled to appear in Darwin Local Court today after the Northern Territory Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (NT JACET) charged him with multiple child abuse offences.

In late 2019, the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a referral from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in relation to an online user allegedly transmitting child abuse material on multiple social media platforms.

The 19-year-old Darwin man was later identified as the alleged user of this online account.

In June 2020, the matter was referred to NT JACET, comprising of members from the Australian Federal Police and Northern Territory Police.

In that same month, investigators executed a search warrant on the man’s residence in Darwin, seizing mobile phones, USB storage devices and various children’s underwear.

The man was arrested and subsequently charged with:

  • One count possession of child abuse material, contrary to Section 125B, Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT), with a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment;
  • One count possession of child abuse material, contrary to Section 474.22A, Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), with a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment;
  • Three counts of transmit child abuse material, contrary to Section 474.22, Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) , with a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment;
  • One count of access child abuse material, contrary to Section 474.22, Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), with a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment; and
  • One count of unlawful possession, contrary to Section 61, Summary Offences Act 1923 (NT), with a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment.

AFP Child Protection and Human Trafficking Operations Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson warned perpetrators of this crime that accessing and sharing child abuse material on social media and other online forums “is not a simple click of a button”.

“This investigation is an example that your actions online have real world consequences. If you use or share child abuse material, you are implicit in the physical and emotional harm of children.

“Our work with domestic and international partners is key to targeting those involved in this horrendous industry and stopping them from causing further harm to victims of online child abuse,” said Det. Supt. Hudson.

Northern Territory Police Detective Sergeant Paul Lawson said: “This is another great example of a joint multi agency operation to identify and apprehend those who, by their actions, pose a serious risk to the safety of our community. Northern Territory Police and Australian Federal Police will continue to work together to this end.”

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation 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.

Note to media:

USE OF TERM 'CHILD ABUSE' MATERIAL, NOT 'CHILD PORNOGRAPHY'

Use of the phrase "child pornography" benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not "pornography".

Media enquiries:

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

NT Police media: (08) 8985 8838

AFP dismantles Australian online network of alleged child sex offenders and helps young victims

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation > News and Media > Releases > 2020 > Op-Arkstone


An Australian Federal Police-led investigation has smashed open a domestic online network of alleged child sex offenders, who are accused of abusing and exploiting Australian children and recording the horrific crimes to share with others.

Nine men in three states have been charged and at least 14 children have been saved from further harm, as a result of the national police investigation into individuals allegedly producing and sharing child abuse material.

Two men - aged 21 and 26 - from the New South Wales mid-north coast are the latest arrests in Operation Arkstone, which was launched in early 2020 after a tip-off from the United States’ National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to the AFP’s Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE).

Yesterday (Thursday, 4 June), investigators from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Eastern Command Child Protection Operations and the New South Wales Police Force Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad and Mid North Coast Police Area Command executed search warrants at premises in the towns of Kendall and Old Bar.

The 26-year-old man was charged with two counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10 years, two counts of produce child abuse material and two counts of possessing/controlling child abuse material using carriage service.

The 21-year-old man was charged with six counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10 years and possess child abuse material.

Both men were refused bail and faced Kempsey Local Court today, where they were remanded in custody to appear at Port Macquarie Local Court on Thursday 10 September 2020.

Another seven men from NSW, Queensland and Western Australia have previously been charged as part of this investigation. The investigation began with the arrest of a man on the NSW Central Coast, and further analysis of material seized during that and subsequent investigations led to yesterday’s activity on the Mid North Coast.

Police allege that analysis of evidence seized during each arrest helped identify other suspected offenders.

AFP Assistant Commissioner for ACCCE and Northern Command Lesa Gale said police believe they have uncovered one of the biggest domestic child exploitation networks in recent times.

She said police would allege in court that some of the accused men had sexually abused children known to them and recorded videos and photographs of the abuse to share with others online.

“The efforts of all officers involved in the investigation has resulted in at least 14 children removed from harmful situations, and saved from abuse in the future,” Assistant Commissioner Gale said.

“We are continuing to try to identify other children who we suspect were preyed on by individuals in the alleged network.

“It is heartbreaking to think of any child being sexually abused, but it strengthens our resolve to hunt down perpetrators and bring them to justice.

“Sexual abuse has a devastating impact on children and their families, and that abuse continues each and every time an image or video showing that crime is shared.”

Assistant Commissioner Gale said the ACCCE, which is headquartered in Brisbane, uses a range of investigative techniques to help police across Australia track down anyone who preys on children – in person or online.

“Use of encrypted applications or systems will not enable you to stay anonymous – we have the capabilities and the will to track you down and arrest you.”

Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, NSW Police State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander said investigating heinous crimes such as these is a priority for all law enforcement agencies.

“The despicable acts that we will allege in court that these men have committed are punishable with life imprisonment, such is this seriousness of the offences,” Det Supt Kerlatec said.

“Along with our partnering agencies, NSW Police will continue to be relentless in our efforts to put people who sexually abuse children before the courts.

“We understand the trauma connected to these crimes, and we want victims to know if they come forward to report incidents, we will act swiftly and investigate thoroughly to deliver them justice.”

State police in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia have been working with the ACCCE and AFP on the investigation. Investigations remain ongoing and further arrests and charges have not been ruled out.

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation 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.

Access online safety information at https://www.accce.gov.au/resources

**Editor’s note: Arrest footage and infographics from this operation will be available to download via hightail through the AFP website.**

Notes to media:

Media are reminded of their obligations to protect the identity of child victims and victims of sexual assault under s15A of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW) and s105 of the Children and Young Person (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW).

USE OF TERM 'CHILD ABUSE' MATERIAL, NOT 'CHILD PORNOGRAPHY'

Use of the phrase "child pornography" benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not "pornography".

Media enquiries:

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297