An AFP investigation led to the indictment of a former childcare worker for 1,623 child abuse offenses against 91 children – including 136 counts of rape and 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10 – in Brisbane, Sydney and overseas between 2007 and 2022.
The 45-year-old Gold Coast man has been detained in Queensland since August 2022 when AFP arrested him and initially charged him with two counts of manufacturing mining equipment. children and one head of use of a child pornography transport service.
The case is due in Brisbane Magistrates’ Court on August 21, 2023.
After the man was charged last year, AFP alleges further self-produced child abuse material was identified on electronic devices believed to belong to the man. AFP launched Operation Tenterfield immediately after the man was arrested on August 21 last year.
Operation Tenterfield partly focused on identifying children in alleged child abuse material recorded at daycare centers in Queensland (10) and NSW (one), and an early learning center attached to a school abroad.
AFP alleges the man recorded his offense on phones and cameras while working at 10 child care centers in Brisbane between 2007 and 2013 and between 2018 and 2022; an overseas location in 2013 and 2014; and a center in Sydney between 2014 and 2017. All of the children allegedly offended were prepubescent girls. The man worked in other daycares, but AFP is very confident that the man would not have committed an offense in these daycares.
AFP is also very confident that the 87 Australian children who were recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been identified. AFP believe the man recorded all of his alleged offences.
Parents of all Australian children recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been notified of the investigation. Some of the people identified in the alleged child abuse material are now over 18 and have been notified. Support services have been offered and continue to be offered.
AFP is working with international authorities to help identify four children recorded in alleged child abuse material created overseas.
AFP’s Joint Queensland Child Exploitation Team (JACET) and victim identification specialists from AFP and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) have worked tirelessly since the man’s arrest last year for identifying all of the children in the alleged child abuse material.
In November 2022, AFP provided evidence to NSW Police (NSWPF) to enable an investigation into the alleged offense in NSW. The NSWPF launched Strike Force Boorong to investigate the alleged breaches in Sydney. With the help of AFP, the NSWPF notified the families and individuals identified as part of Operation Tenterfield.
Operation Tenterfield, with the assistance of Strike Force Boorong, undertook detailed forensic investigations into over 4,000 images and videos containing alleged child abuse material, believed to be man-made.
In July 2023, AFP brought new charges against the man (in addition to the original three charges) for the alleged offense against 64 children in Queensland and four children overseas.
These fees include:
In June 2023, the NSWPF brought charges for alleged offenses against 23 children in New South Wales. Fees include:
The NSWPF has issued a trial warrant for the man’s future extradition.
Operation Tenterfield was complex and involved highly trained casualty identification specialists. Up to 35 AFP members have been involved in the investigation since August 2022.
AFP thanks QPS and NSWPF for devoting resources to the investigation.
The genesis of Operation Tenterfield is linked to QPS locating alleged child abuse images and videos on the dark web in 2014.
QPS posted them on an international victim identification database, seeking assistance from the global victim identification community.
AFP and other agencies reviewed the footage, but it contained few distinct clues for investigators to follow.
But in August 2022, AFP was able to trace objects identified in the background of alleged images and videos posted on the dark web between 2013 and 2014 to a crèche in Brisbane.
After investigating the nursery, AFP executed a search warrant on August 20, 2022 in Brisbane and arrested the man in the southwestern suburbs of Brisbane. He was accused of making and distributing child pornography material which was allegedly posted on the dark web.
Over the next 48 hours, AFP executed two more search warrants, including at the man’s Gold Coast home, and seized electronic devices allegedly containing man-made child pornography.
In September 2022, AFP coordinated a joint task force with QPS at the Australian Center for Combating Child Exploitation (ACCCE) to review nearly 4,000 seized images and videos the man allegedly created.
Victim identification specialists helped identify 91 children who were allegedly offended by the man.
Child care centers will not be named to help protect the identity of alleged victims.
AFP Deputy Commissioner for the North, Justine Gough, said AFP and other agencies were providing continued support to parents and children.
“AFP, in conjunction with support services, has ensured that parents and guardians have received as much information as possible while this investigation continues,” Assistant Commissioner Gough said.
“I can assure members of the Australian public that if you have not been contacted by law enforcement it is extremely unlikely that your child has been offended by the man.
“AFP is very confident that all of the Australian children who were recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been identified.
“AFP and our partners have never stopped trying to identify the alleged abuser and the children in the alleged abuse material.
“Given that there were so many alleged images and videos of children stored over 15 years on the alleged abuser’s devices, the process of identification took time, skill and determination. .
“While I am extremely proud of law enforcement’s persistence and unwavering dedication to identifying this alleged offender and stopping further abuse, this is chilling news.”
“It is with a heavy heart that AFP and other law enforcement dedicate so much time and resources to preventing and taking action against individuals who commit heinous crimes against children.
“I can’t bring much comfort to the parents and children who have been identified through Operation Tenterfield, but I can tell you that we have never given up and never will when it comes to protection. children.
“This is a difficult time for families, carers and the wider community.
“We know that this type of news can re-traumatize survivors of sexual abuse and please I urge those survivors to seek help or speak to a trusted network, if the news d ‘today have caused distress.’
Queensland Police Service Acting Deputy Commissioner Colonel Briggs said the finding was the culmination of years of extensive and complex investigation across all jurisdictions.
“From the time Argos located images of child victims shared on the dark web in 2014, a thorough investigation was initiated to identify the children in the photos,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Briggs said.
“The challenges posed by an investigation of this type were significant and officers have never given up on identifying this alleged perpetrator, remembering that everything you do online leaves a trace.
“In recent years, investigators have engaged the support of a Joint Victim Identification Task Force at the ACCCE, with multiple agencies working together to ensure victims and their families are located.
“These allegations are horrific and confronting, but I commend all investigators in every jurisdiction for their tireless efforts to ensure our community is made safer following the arrest of the alleged perpetrator.
Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald of the NSWPF State Crime Command confirmed the man would also face charges relating to child sex abuse in New South Wales.
“Today we are announcing that NSW Police Force have issued a warrant for the arrest of this man in our home state, where he faces 180 charges of child sexual abuse against 23 victims aged one to five years,” Assistant Commissioner Fitzgerald said.
“Once this man faces AFP charges in Queensland, we will seek to extradite him to Sydney to face the full force of the law in New South Wales.”
“This is one of the most horrific cases of alleged child abuse that our detectives have seen, and we will continue to pursue this case relentlessly on behalf of the 23 NSW victims, who remain our number one priority.
“Alongside our partner agencies, we are absolutely committed to prosecuting anyone who preys on the most vulnerable in our community.
AFP urges all members of the community who need to access assistance to visit the ACCCE website – www.accce.gov.au – for a full list of assistance services available with their contact details.
Members of the public who have information about those involved in child abuse and exploitation are asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening at the moment or a child is in danger, call the police immediately on 000.
Research by the ACCCE in 2020 found that only about half of parents talk to their children about online safety.
If you or someone you know is affected by online child sexual abuse and exploitation, support services are available at www.accce.gov.au/support.
Advice and support for parents and guardians on how they can help protect children online is available at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an educational program run by AFP and designed to prevent sexual exploitation kids online.