Fraser Coast man facing over 100 child abuse material offences

A 49-year-old Woodgate man is due to face a Brisbane court today, charged with more than 100 offences for allegedly possessing and distributing child abuse material via encrypted applications.

The investigation was launched after the Australian Federal Police-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report from a member of the public regarding an Australian citizen residing in Mongolia.

The man's mobile phone was seized for analysis upon his return from Mongolia in December 2019.

In December 2019 the man was charged with:

  • One count of possessing child pornography material outside of Australia, contrary to section 273.5 (1) Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) and,
  • One count of possessing child abuse material outside of Australia, contrary to section 273.6 (1) Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)

Following an extensive examination of the mobile phone by the AFP's Digital Forensic Team, investigators allegedly located a significant amount of child abuse material, which had been transmitted using the encrypted messaging applications Telegram and Scruff.

He is expected to face the Brisbane Magistrates Court today (11 September 2020), where he will be charged with additional offences, including:

  • 43 counts of distributing child pornography material outside Australia, contrary to section 273.5(1) Criminal Code 1995 (Cth),
  • Eleven counts of obtaining child pornography material outside Australia, contrary to section 273.5(1) Criminal Code 1995 (Cth),
  • 38 counts of distributing child abuse material outside Australia, contrary to section 273.6(1) Criminal Code 1995 (Cth),
  • Seven counts of obtaining child abuse material outside Australia, contrary to section 273.6(1) Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) and;
  • One count of possess child exploitation material, contrary to section 228D Criminal Code (QLD).

If convicted, the charges carry a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment.

AFP Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson of the ACCCE and Child Protection Operations said the investigation shows the close relationships the AFP has with our international law enforcement partners.

"Online child exploitation is a crime that knows no border, which is why the relationships we have built with international law enforcement is so critical to these investigations," she said.

"This investigation shows that we will act on reports of child abuse online, even if those accessing it are located overseas. The AFP and its partners will never relinquish our duty to keep children safe," Superintendent Hudson said.

"We need to be acting as a community to be alive to the risks that may be facing our children, and prevent online child sexual exploitation—during National Child Protection Week and every week."

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.

Note to media:

Use of term 'CHILD ABUSE' MATERIAL NOT 'CHILD PORNOGRAPHY'

The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

Use of the phrase "child pornography" is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2018-19

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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