Toowoomba man sentenced to jail over possessing child abuse material

Editor's Note: An image related to this investigation is available via Hightail.

A 29-year-old Toowoomba man has been sentenced to three years and two months in jail after pleading guilty to child exploitation offences following an Australian Federal Police child protection investigation.

Officers from the Brisbane Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) executed a search warrant at an address in Newtown, Toowoomba on 22 September 2020, after receiving a report from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the United States.

AFP investigators found the man had been using online platform MeetMe to engage with other users while posing as the mother of an underage child and transmitting child abuse material.

Today (3 August 2021), the man pleaded guilty to five charges including; possessing or controlling child abuse material, using a carriage service to access child abuse material and three counts of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material.

Detective Superintendent Child Protection Operations Paula Hudson said the AFP works tirelessly with international law enforcement partners to keep children safe.

“Individuals who possess, access and transmit child abuse material are part of the problem. They create the market for child abuse material online, which causes further harm to children,” Detective Superintendent Hudson said.

"The AFP will never relinquish our duty to protect children online and in the real world, this outcome today should serve as a warning to those who seek to spread child abuse material - we will find you and you will be prosecuted."

Members of the public who have any information about this network or 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.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available.

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:

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

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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 2020-21

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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