An AFP investigation led to a former childcare worker being charged with 1,623 child abuse offenses against 91 children, including 136 counts of rape and 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10, in Brisbane, Sydney and in abroad between 2007 and 2022.
The 45-year-old Gold Coast man has been in Queensland custody since August 2022 when AFP arrested him and initially charged him with two counts of making child exploitation material and one count of using a material transport service. child pornography.
The case is scheduled for a mention in Brisbane Magistrates Court on August 21, 2023.
After the man was indicted last year, AFP will allege more self-produced child abuse material was identified on electronic devices allegedly owned by the man. The AFP launched Operation Tenterfield immediately after arresting the man on August 21 last year.
Operation Tenterfield has focused in part on identifying children in suspected child abuse material recorded at childcare centers in Queensland (10) and NSW (one), and an early learning center attached to a school in the foreign.
The AFP alleges that the man recorded his crime with phones and cameras while working at 10 day 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 the children allegedly offended were pre-adolescent girls. The man worked in other child care centers, but AFP is very confident that the man allegedly did not commit crimes in those centers.
The AFP is also very confident that the 87 Australian children who were recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been identified. The AFP believes that the man recorded all of his alleged crimes.
The parents of all Australian children recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been informed of the investigation. Some of the people identified in the alleged child abuse material are now over the age of 18 and have been reported. Support services have been and continue to be provided.
The AFP is working with international authorities to help identify four children recorded in suspected child abuse materials created abroad.
AFP Queensland’s Joint Child Exploitation Team (JACET) and victim identification specialists from AFP and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) have been working tirelessly since the man’s arrest last year to identify all the children. on the alleged child abuse material.
In November 2022, the AFP provided evidence to the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) to allow an investigation into the alleged crime in NSW. NSWPF launched Strike Force Boorong to investigate suspected crime in Sydney. With the assistance of AFP, NSWPF notified the families and individuals identified in Operation Tenterfield.
Operation Tenterfield, with the assistance of Strike Force Boorong, has carried out detailed forensic investigations of more than 4,000 images and videos containing suspected child abuse material, which were allegedly man-made.
In July 2023, the AFP brought further charges against the man (in addition to the original three charges) for the alleged crimes against 64 children in Queensland and four children abroad.
Those charges include:
In June 2023, NSWPF brought charges of alleged crimes against 23 children in NSW. Charges include:
NSWPF has issued a first instance warrant for the man’s future extradition.
Operation Tenterfield has been complex and has involved highly-skilled victim 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 which located images and videos of alleged child abuse on the dark web in 2014.
QPS posted them to an international victim identification database, seeking help from the global victim identification community.
The AFP and other agencies examined the images, but they contained few distinguishable clues for investigators to follow up on.
But in August 2022, the 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 Brisbane nursery.
Following consultations with the childcare center, AFP executed a search warrant on August 20, 2022 in Brisbane and arrested the man in the south-west suburbs of Brisbane. He was accused of making and distributing child abuse material that was allegedly posted on the dark web.
Over the next 48 hours, the AFP executed two more search warrants, including at the man’s Gold Coast home, seizing electronic devices allegedly containing child abuse material created by the man.
In September 2022, the AFP coordinated a joint agency task force with QPS at the Australian Center to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) to review nearly 4,000 seized images and videos that the man had allegedly created.
Victim identification specialists helped identify 91 children who had allegedly been offended by the man.
Child care centers will not be named to help protect the identity of the alleged victims.
AFP North Deputy Commissioner Justine Gough said AFP and other agencies were providing ongoing support to parents and children.
“The AFP, working with support services, has ensured that parents and carers have received as much information as possible as this investigation continues,” said Deputy Commissioner Gough.
‘I can assure members of the Australian public that if you have not been contacted by the police, it is highly unlikely that the man has offended your son.
‘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 offender and the children in the alleged abuse material.
“Because there were so many alleged images and videos of children recorded over 15 years on the alleged offender’s devices, the identification process took time, skill and determination.
“While I am extremely proud of law enforcement’s persistence and unwavering dedication to identifying this suspected criminal and stopping further abuse, this is chilling news.
“It is with a heavy heart that the AFP and other law enforcement agencies spend so much time and resources to prevent and take action against people who commit heinous crimes against children.
‘There isn’t much comfort I can give to the parents and children who have been identified in Operation Tenterfield, but I can tell you that we never, and never will, give up when it comes to protecting children.
“This is a harrowing time for families, caregivers and the community at large.
“We know that this type of news can re-traumatize survivors of sexual assault and please I urge those survivors to seek support or speak to a trusted network if today’s news has caused you distress.”
Queensland Police Service Acting Assistant Commissioner Col Briggs said this result was the culmination of years of dedicated and complex investigation across all jurisdictions.
“Since the moment Argos located images of child victims being shared on the dark web in 2014, a comprehensive examination was initiated to identify the children in the images,” said Acting Assistant Commissioner Briggs.
‘The challenges posed by such an investigation were significant and officers never gave up on identifying this suspected criminal, reminding themselves that everything you do online leaves a trail.
‘In recent years, investigators enlisted the support of a joint agency victim identification task force at ACCCE, with various agencies working together to ensure victims and their families were located.
“These allegations are horrific and confrontational, but I commend all investigators in each jurisdiction on their tireless efforts to ensure our community is safer as a result of the alleged perpetrator’s arrest.
Deputy Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald of the NSWPF State Crime Command confirmed the man would also face charges related to child sexual abuse in NSW.
“Today we announce that the NSW Police Force has issued a warrant for the arrest of this man in our home state, where he faces 180 counts of child sexual abuse against 23 victims aged one to five years,” said Deputy Commissioner Fitzgerald.
“Once this man faces the AFP charges in Queensland, we will look to extradite him to Sydney to face the full force of the law in New South Wales.
“This is one of the most horrifying cases of alleged child abuse our detectives have seen, and we will continue to relentlessly investigate this matter on behalf of the 23 NSW victims, who remain our number one priority.
“Together with our partner agencies, we are absolutely committed to prosecuting anyone who goes after the most vulnerable in our community.”
The AFP urges any member of the community who needs access to assistance to visit the ACCCE website, www.accce.gov.au, for a full list of available assistance services with contact details.
Members of the public with information about those involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know that abuse is taking place right now or that a child is at risk, call the police immediately on 000.
Research conducted by ACCCE in 2020 revealed that only around 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 carers on how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-run educational program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.