Ballarat man charged over child abuse material offences

A 22-year-old regional Victorian man accused of sharing child abuse material online using a social media account is scheduled to face court in Ballarat today (22 October, 2020).

The man was arrested as part of an investigation launched after the Australian Federal Police-led (AFP) Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received information from United States authorities in relation to the alleged sharing of child exploitation material online.

The Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET), comprising members from the AFP and Victoria Police (VICPOL), conducted an investigation and executed a search warrant on a residence in the Victorian regional city of Ballarat, yesterday, 21 October 2020.

The man was arrested at a location in Ross Creek and two mobile phones and a computer were seized for further digital forensic analysis.

The accused man was granted police bail and will appear before the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court this morning (22 October 2020) charged with:

  • Using a carriage service to possess child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • Accessing material using a carriage service, the material being child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is 15 years’ imprisonment.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Sarah Fullerton said the appetite for child abuse material has not decreased during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

“The AFP does not get a day off from this insidious crime type. We work with our partners day-in day-out, to catch those profiting off the innocence of our children, who are being used by predators in creating these sickening images,” Detective Acting Superintendent Fullerton said.

“We are committed to tracking down these perpetrators targeting and exploiting children, whether they are in Australia or overseas.”

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 Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report

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