Operation Arkstone: Sydney man sentenced for multiple child abuse offences


*Editor’s note: Video of the arrest available via hightail

A 27-year-old Sydney man linked to a significant online child abuse network was sentenced to two years and six months’ jail in the Downing Centre District Court yesterday (31 March 2022).

The Lane Cove man was arrested in his home on 14 January 2021, where AFP officers executed a search warrant and seized two mobile phones containing child abuse material.

He was the 17th man arrested under a nationwide investigation known as Operation Arkstone – an AFP-led, large-scale child protection operation.

The investigation 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 from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States.

This first arrest led to AFP investigators and forensic specialists identifying other potential offenders, with the evidence from each arrest examined and used to locate more people linked to this network, including the Lane Cove man.

The digital trail from the first arrest has currently identified 56 child victims in Australia who have been removed from further harm. Twenty-five Australians have been charged with 1,350 offences.

Investigators from Homeland Security Investigations in the US have been integral in identifying the online network of alleged child sex offenders throughout Operation Arkstone, resulting in multiple arrests in the US as part of an ongoing investigation. 

AFP Constable Emily McFarlane said Operation Arkstone demonstrates the AFP’s enduring commitment to protecting vulnerable members of our community and combatting child sexual exploitation.

“The scale of this investigation and the efforts undertaken by law enforcement should serve as a clear message to offenders. Individuals who engage in these horrific acts can expect to be identified and face the full force of the law,” Constable McFarlane said.

“Our officers will continue to work closely alongside our domestic and international partners and we won’t rest until the full extent of this criminal network is uncovered.

“Sexual abuse has a devastating and long-lasting impact on children and their families and I urge the public to come forward and report any suspicious activity.”

The man pleaded guilty to:

  • One count of wilful and obscene exposure in a public place; contrary to section 5 of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW);
  • One count of possess or control child abuse material obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count of use a carriage service to transmit child abuse material; contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

He received a jail sentence of two years and six months and will be eligible for release under strict conditions after serving a 15-month term.

Members of the public who have information about 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.

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.

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

Note 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

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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

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