Sydney man arrested after AFP online child abuse investigation

A 52-year-old Sydney man has been charged following an Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation into allegations the man was accessing child abuse material online.

The man was arrested yesterday (Thursday, 9 April 2020) after officers from the AFP’s Eastern Command Child Protection Operations executed search warrants at the man’s St Ives home.

The investigation into the man’s online activities began following a National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) report to the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) who identified he had transmitted approximately 115 files identified as child abuse material (CAM) to an online social networking account.

During yesterday’s search warrant, police seized a number of items and digital devices which will be subject to further forensic examination.

The man was charged with possessing child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years imprisonment.

He was refused police bail and is due to face Sydney Central Local Court today (Friday 10 April).

AFP Commander Investigations Eastern Command, Kirsty Schofield, said that the AFP is working diligently to combat all forms of child exploitation during these challenging times.

“Despite the strain on society and our officers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are focusing ever more on protecting children from exploitation online, especially as we see people spending more time online due to self-isolation,” Commander Schofield said.

“This remains and will continue to remain a vital priority for us. We will never stop targeting these criminals to ensure the safety of our community’s most vulnerable.”

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in the possession or sharing of child exploitation material 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.

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) works alongside key stakeholders and partners to drive a collective global effort to counter the epidemic of child exploitation. It provides an integrated and collaborative capability to ensure cohesion by using the expertise of federal, state and territory, non-government agencies and private industry, and by allowing a cross-pollination of resources, knowledge and skillsets between stakeholders.

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