A 46-year-old man faced Maroochydore Magistrates Court today (14 October, 2021) after the Australian Federal Police charged him with multiple child abuse offences.
The investigation began in July 2021 after the Australian Federal Police-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding a Facebook user uploading child abuse material (CAM).
Investigators from the Brisbane Child Protection Operations Team later identified a 46-year-old Nambour man as the alleged user of the online account.
A search warrant was executed at the man’s home on Friday, 8 October 2021, and investigators located multiple electronic devices, including mobile phones, computers, USBs and a hard drive. An initial search of six USBs, a laptop and a mobile phone located images and videos classified as CAM.
Those devices were seized along with 10 other mobile phones, a computer tower and a hard drive. All the digital devices will now be subject to further forensic examination.
The man was not home when police executed the search warrant and attended Nambour Police Station yesterday (13 October, 2021). He was arrested at the police station and charged with:
- Possessing child exploitation material, contrary to section 228D of the Criminal Code 1899 (QLD);
- Using a carriage service to transmit, make available, publish, distribute, advertise or promote child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22 (1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995(Cth); and
- Possessing and controlling child abuse material accessed or obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995(Cth).
The maximum penalty for these offences ranges from 14 to 15 years’ imprisonment. The man faced Maroochydore Magistrates Court today (14 October, 2021) and was remanded in custody until a further appearance on 3 December 2021.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Tim Puchala said this arrest was another reminder of the commitment undertaken by the AFP and its partners to protect children and identify and prosecute anyone who seeks to exploit and harm them.
“Anyone who produces or shares child abuse material is part of the problem, it is they who create the market for child abuse material online, which causes further harm to our community’s most vulnerable – our children,” he 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 or report online.
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.