The AFP’s crackdown on child sex offenders in Queensland continues, with four men facing court in Brisbane yesterday.
A 23-year-old Woodridge man, a second 23-year-old Woodridge man, a 30-year-old Redlands Bay man and a 55-year-old Grange man all faced Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday, following four separate AFP investigations.
In the first investigation, the AFP led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a referral from the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The referral identified a Queensland man purporting to be a teenage girl online while sending child abuse material and engaging in highly sexualised chats on the iPhone social media platform Skout.
In June 2020, members from the AFP Brisbane Child Protection Operations (CPO) team executed a search warrant at a Woodridge residence. The man’s mobile device was found to contain child abuse material and it was seized by police. As a result, the man appeared before the Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with possessing child abuse material.
In a separate matter, a report from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to the ACCCE contained information on another 23-year-old Woodridge man, who is alleged to have sent dozens of images of child abuse material on Twitter.
Enquiries by AFP investigators linked the 23-year-old man to the social media account used to send the images.
A warrant was executed in July where a number of evidentiary items were seized. As a result, the man appeared before the Brisbane Magistrates Court for possessing and transmitting child abuse material.
In the matter of the 30-year-old Redland Bay man, the AFP-led ACCCE received a report from an international law enforcement partner that identified an online user transmitting child abuse material.
On 18 June, members of the Brisbane CPO team executed a search warrant at a Redlands Bay residence, where a mobile device found to contain child abuse material was seized.
The 30-year-old man was arrested and conveyed to the Brisbane watch house, where he was charged with possessing child abuse material and using a carriage service to access child abuse material. He was granted bail to appear before Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday.
In the fourth matter, AFP officers at Brisbane International Airport were advised of an Australian citizen stopped by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers on his return from the Philippines after locating child abuse material on his phone in September 2019.
The matter was referred to the Brisbane Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) and the man was charged in February 2020 after police allege he travelled overseas to offend against children and produce child abuse material (the media release for this matter can be found here).
Further investigations in conjunction with the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC) resulted in the Brisbane JACET laying another 16 charges on the man ahead of his appearance in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday. The man has now been charged with a total of 59 offences.
AFP Detective Superintendent ACCCE and Child Protection Operations Paula Hudson said that with National Child Protection Week beginning on Sunday, it was a timely reminder that sex offenders use any means they have to distribute their sick material.
“Yesterday we saw a wide spectrum of child exploitation offences before court, from possession to transmission to full-scale contact offending,” Detective Superintendent Hudson said.
“Despite the volume of offenders being targeted and brought before the courts, putting an end to their offending remains an operational priority for the AFP, Australia-wide and internationally.
The AFP via International Command Manila work in partnership with Philippine authorities and other international partners to detect and disrupt those engaged in the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, remove victims from harm and address the growth of this offending at the source.
“These important partnerships have resulted in perpetrators operating in the Philippines and abroad being disrupted and child victims of online sexual exploitation rescued and removed from harm,” Detective Superintendent Hudson said.
The ACCCE is committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting organised child abuse.
The Centre brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual abuse and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.
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.