A 28-year-old Brisbane man who the AFP identified soliciting child abuse material online as part of a global investigation has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.
The man was sentenced by the Brisbane District Court today (20 June 2022) for accessing, sharing and soliciting child abuse material online.
He was identified as part of Operation Molto, which commenced in 2019 when the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received intelligence from New Zealand authorities that thousands of offenders globally were sharing abhorrent child abuse material online on a cloud storage platform.
The AFP linked the man to an email address associated with an account on the cloud storage platform that had been identified accessing, sharing and soliciting child abuse material.
The email address had also separately been reported to the ACCCE by the United States’ National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
The Brisbane Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET), comprising officers from the AFP and Queensland Police Service, executed a search warrant at the man’s Springfield Lakes home in August 2020.
Police seized a mobile phone which was found to contain child abuse material.
AFP acting Superintendent Mary Bolton said the charges demonstrated the AFP’s commitment to investigate and charge offenders believed to be involved in child exploitation and sexual abuse.
“This work is gut-wrenching, but our investigators are relentless in their pursuit of anyone sharing or accessing child abuse material, and they will follow-up any information to bring these people to justice,” Det-Supt Bolton said.
“The AFP and its partners will continue to bring those responsible for these horrendous
behaviours to justice.”
The man was convicted on seven counts:
- Two counts of using a carriage service to access child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
- Two counts of making available child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
- Two counts of Soliciting child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22 22 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
- One count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, to be released after serving three months, and will be subject to the supervision of an authorised probation officer for 18 months.
The AFP is urging the public to help it solve cold case child abuse investigations through its Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object initiative. The smallest clue can often help solve a case.
The world-leading initiative, is centred on the publishing of non-confrontational images that can be seen in child exploitation online material such as pieces of clothing or bedding.
Australian investigators believe the images are linked to victims in the Asia Pacific Region, including Australia, and are calling on the community to view the images and make a report at www.accce.gov.au/trace.
The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the ACCCE is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse and exploitation.
The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual exploitation and abuse 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.
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.