NSW man jailed for child abuse offences

Child_Exploitation

A 55-year-old NSW man has been jailed today (10 December 2021) for four years and six months' on child abuse offences, after he was linked to an alleged national online child exploitation network.

The man was charged as part of Operation Arkstone in November 2020, after members of the AFP Eastern Command Child Protection Operations executed a search warrant at the man's residence in New Lambton Heights, in Newcastle.

Police seized two electronic devices that were found to contain child abuse material, including videos of adults sexually abusing babies and toddlers. Stored online chats also revealed the 55-year-old had encouraged another man to record himself abusing his own child.

The NSW Police Force Child Abuse Unit worked with the AFP on the investigation into the 55-year-old man's activities.

The man pleaded guilty to seven offences in June (2021) and was sentenced in Downing Centre Local Court today (10 December 2021).

He must serve two years and six months' imprisonment before becoming eligible for parole.

The man has been sentenced as part of Operation Arkstone, an AFP-led, large-scale child protection operation.

The nationwide operation was launched in February 2020 after investigators from the AFP's Eastern Command Child Protection Operations arrested a 30-year-old Central Coast man for child abuse offences. The arrest followed a referral to the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) from the United States' National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The digital trail from the first arrest in February 2020 has to date identified 55 Australian child victims, who have been removed from harm. Twenty-one Australian alleged offenders have been charged with 1301 offences.

Investigations into this network of child abuse are continuing.

Detective Senior Constable Joanna Kolodziej said the AFP worked tirelessly to prevent child exploitation and abuse.

"We will continue to do everything in our power to protect children and bring perpetrators to justice," Detective Senior Constable Kolodziej said.

"No child should ever be subjected to the horrific acts depicted in child abuse material and we are determined to follow every lead to identify child sex offenders and save as many children as possible from further harm."

The man pleaded guilty to the following offences:

  • 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 (Cth);
  • one count of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • one count of using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • one count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • one count of using a carriage service to menace/harass/offend contrary to Section 474.17 of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • one count of using a carriage service to prepare to procure a person under 16 years of age to engage in sexual activity contrary to section 474.25C of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • one count of on 3 or more occasions and 2 or more people using a carriage service for child abuse material contrary to Section 474.24A of the Criminal Code (Cth).

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.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available, visit the ACCCE to learn more.

Editor's note:

Media are reminded it is an offence to publish or broadcast details which may identify a victim of a sexual offence, including the age of the victim or how the offender had access to a child.

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

If it doesn't add up, speak up. Call the National Security Hotline - 1800 123 400.

Read the AFP Annual Report 2020-21

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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