A 31 year old Werribee man is set to face the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today, charged in relation to child exploitation offences, after Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers executed a search warrant at his property on Thursday (December 12, 2019).
The Victorian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) received a report from the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) over the alleged grooming of a child through the social media application known as ‘KIK’.
The AFP alleges the man communicated sexually explicit images to an underage girl.
During the search warrant at a Werribee property, officers allegedly seized child exploitation material on a USB and located a number of conversations with underage females on the man’s mobile phone.
The accused has been charged with the following offences:
- Use carriage service to groom a person under 16 years of age to engage in sexual activity, contrary to S.474.27(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
- Use a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to a person under 16 years of age, contrary to S.474.27A(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
- Possess child abuse material, contrary to S.474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
The maximum penalty for these offences is up to 15 years imprisonment.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Bernard Geason said the AFP and the ACCCE remained committed to identifying and prosecuting online offenders attempting to exploit Australian children.
“Alarmingly the appetite for child exploitation material is increasing and there are predators in our community who will abuse vulnerable children to facilitate this vile industry,” he said.
“The consequences are devastating and life-long for the child victims and their families.
“It is distressing that children are the target of this abhorrent crime, but it strengthens our resolve to hunt down perpetrators and bring them to justice.”
The VIC-JACET comprises of officers from the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police.
The Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Teams across the country are Australia’s frontline in tackling, disrupting and prosecuting this insidious industry that causes significant harm to the most vulnerable in our community – our children.
Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child exploitation are urged to call Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.