A 62-year-old man allegedly caught with images and videos of children being sexually abused is expected to face Elizabeth Magistrates Court today (31 August).
The South Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (SA JACET) charged the man after an investigation sparked by information from the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
AUSTRAC financial intelligence identified people in Australia allegedly sending suspicious payments to known facilitators of child abuse material (CAM) in the Philippines.
The 62-year-old was allegedly one of those customers and is suspected of transferring approximately $65,000 to various beneficiaries in the Philippines since 2006.
SA JACET, which comprises Australian Federal Police and South Australia Police executed a search warrant at the man’s home on 16 July 2020.
Police seized a laptop, USB, several DVDs and CDs, a dozen Western Union money transfer forms and a number of external hard drives for further examination.
Investigators allegedly found child abuse material and extensive communication with suspected Philippines’ residents when they did a preliminary examination of the data storage devices.
The man has been charged with
• Possession or control of child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
• Using a carriage service to access child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); Police will allege this offence was committed before legislation was amended in September 2019.
The maximum penalty for these offences is 15 years’ imprisonment.
Analysis of seized items is ongoing and further charges may be laid.
Information has been provided to Philippines authorities to try to identify any victims and perpetrators.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Gavin Stone said children are being forced into the most appalling violence on camera for money and anyone who views this material online is just as complicit in the abuse as those who physically harm a child.
“No child anywhere in the world should have to be victimised for the perverted desires of some people in our community,”
“The AFP and South Australia Police are working around-the-clock with our partners to bring to justice those who seek to do harm to our children.” Detective Acting Superintendent Stone said.
South Australia Police Detective Superintendent Mark Wieszyk said the JACET partnership between the South Australia Police and the AFP has been in operation since 2015.
“Since this time we have worked tirelessly at apprehending persons that prey on children as well as identifying victims wherever possible so that they can be rescued from abuse. Although demanding, our work is performed diligently knowing that the goal is to recue as many children from harm as possible,” Detective Superintendent Wieszyk said.
Bradley Brown, National Manager, Intelligence Partnerships at AUSTRAC said: “one of the most effective ways of tracking down individuals committing these abhorrent offences is to monitor the transactions they use to pay for these child abuse materials online.”
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 AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report.