11 Australians charged as police crack paedophile ring
Posted in: Child Protection&Online Safety at 15/06/2011 18:54
A teacher at an exclusive Sydney boys prep school is among 11 Australian men charged after federal police cracked an alleged online child abuse ring.
Australian Federal Police say the men have been swapping pictures of the sexual abuse of children as young as five - including scenes of bondage, torture and rape - on a file-sharing network.
The men were arrested during raids last Wednesday after a five-month investigation by the Virtual Global Taskforce, which includes law enforcement agencies from around the world.
AFP smashes online paedophile ring
ELEANOR HALL: We begin with one of the biggest crackdowns on a pornography and child abuse operation in Australia.
Police have arrested 11 men across four states, charged one of them with rape and seized thousands of images showing the abuse of children as young as five.
At a press conference in Sydney this morning Federal Police officers said they plan to arrest many more people in connection with the internet paedophile ring that originated in Australia.
More arrests likely in child porn case after 11 men charged [AAP]
More arrests are likely after 11 men, including a teacher, were charged with sharing thousands of child abuse images and videos online.
Going through the thousands of images could take months, but police have made it a priority to identify children at risk after two in New South Wales were "removed from harm", Australian Federal Police Commander Grant Edwards said today.
au: Operation rescues two children, eleven men arrested [news release]
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has uncovered an online network that had allegedly been sharing child abuse images, charging 11 men in a nationwide operation.
The AFP also identified two children at risk during the operation who have been removed from harm.
The AFP's Child Protection Operations teams have executed search warrants across four Australian states, arresting men between the ages of 18 and 67.
It will be alleged they were accessing the illegal images via a file sharing network.
The AFP has seized storage devices, including hard drives, USBs and laptop computers as well as routers. The storage devices are alleged to contain hundreds of child abuse images.
The men have been charged with offences relating to using a carriage service to access, transmit and posses child exploitation material. These offences carry maximum penalties of between 10 and 15 years imprisonment.
One of the individuals was also charged with having sexual intercourse with a child under 10 years, contrary to Section 66A(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and having sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 14, contrary to Section 66C(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). These offences carry the maximum penalties of 20 years or life imprisonment.
The investigation began four months ago, with AFP investigators using a covert account to identify those who were accessing the images.
AFP Manager High Tech Crime Investigations Grant Edwards said the AFP would continue to investigate links to this network.
"The AFP is actively involved in pursuing those who seek to harm and exploit children online," Commander Edwards said.
"This operation shows that if you access child sexual abuse images you will be investigated, charged and could face serious prison terms.
The images accessed are of real children being abused and it's a shocking thing."
The AFP is committed to combating the exploitation of children and takes the crimes of creating, possessing and distributing child abuse material very seriously.
Further information on internet safety is available from www.thinkuknow.org.au.
Anyone that has information on suspicious activity is to urged to contact state or territory police.