Operation Arkstone: North Sydney man sentenced for child abuse offences

Editor’s Note: Arrest footage, search warrant footage and the latest Op Arkstone infographic are available via hightail

A North Sydney man has been sentenced to a two-year good behaviour bond by the Downing Centre District Court today (15 December, 2022) following an extensive investigation into an online network of alleged child sex offenders.

AFP Eastern Command Child Protection investigators executed a search warrant at the man’s Seaforth home on 3 November 2020, seizing two mobile phones allegedly containing child sexual abuse videos and images.

The man, 28, was arrested and conveyed to Manly Police Station where he was charged with multiple child abuse offences.

He pleaded guilty in July 2021 to:

  • 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 possessing or controlling child abuse material, obtained through using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(iv) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

One additional charge of using carriage service to transmit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) was taken into consideration at sentencing.

Detective Inspector Jeremy Staunton said the AFP is relentless in its pursuit of anyone sharing or accessing child abuse material.

“This is not a victimless crime. Children are not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual predators” Det-Insp Staunton said.

The man was identified as part of Operation Arkstone, an AFP-led, large-scale child protection operation.

The nationwide operation began in February 2020 when a 30-year-old Central Coast man was arrested 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 has to date identified 56 child victims in Australia, who have been removed from further harm. Twenty-five Australian alleged offenders have been charged with 1350 offences.

US Homeland Security has been integral in identifying the online network of alleged child sex offenders throughout Operation Arkstone, which has also resulted in multiple arrests in the United States. Investigations in the US are continuing. 

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

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

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety.

An award-winning podcast launched last year by the ACCCE 'Closing The Net' is working to change that, showcasing that knowledge is power and that our only chance to help prevent this issue is if we bring a 'whole-of-community' response.

The podcast series offers valuable tips and advice on how to keep kids safe online. Listen to the Closing The Net podcast on your favourite streaming platform.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

Notes to media:


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 2021-22

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

Policing and community news from the AFP