Katherine man arrested for transmitting child abuse material


The 20-year-old is also accused of using the dark web to access child abuse material at a Katherine property, the Australian Federal Police say.

Police say the man used a virtual private network application, or VPN, to connect to the dark web before transferring the material to his mobile telephones.

Officers allegedly found child abuse material stored on two phones and a laptop computer belonging to the man.

"Each image and video shows a child having their innocence stolen and anyone who accesses this horrific content is complicit in the abuse," Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson said.

"Would-be offenders should be warned that encrypted applications will not enable them to stay anonymous."

Investigators drove six hours to arrest the man at his rural home.

He was charged with accessing child abuse material through a carriage service and possession or control of child abuse material accessed through a carriage service.

The arrest comes after the United States' National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the AFP about a person transmitting child abuse material via a social media application.

The offences carry a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment.

The man was expected to appear in the Katherine Local Court today.

The Northern Territory Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team arrested and charged the man yesterday after executing a search warrant at his home.

Officers from NT JACET, which comprises AFP and NT Police, allegedly found child abuse material stored on two mobile phones and a laptop computer that belonged to the 20-year-old.

The arrest was a result of an investigation launched after the Australian Federal Police received a report from the United States' National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about a person transmitting child abuse material (CAM) via a social media application.

Some of the illegal online activity was allegedly transmitted from the Katherine property where the 20-year-old lives.

Police will allege the 20-year-old had a number of virtual private network (VPN) applications and browsers capable of connecting to the dark web on his electronic devices.

It will be alleged he had been accessing child abuse material from dark web sites and transferring it to his mobile telephones.

The man has been charged with:

  • access child abuse material through a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
  • possession or control of child abuse material accessed through a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The offences carry a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment.

A detailed forensic examination of the seized devices is ongoing.

AFP Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson said the online demand for child abuse material fuels the physical harm of children.

"Would-be offenders should be warned that encrypted applications will not enable them to stay anonymous. We are working tirelessly with our partners to expose them and put them before the courts."

NT Police Detective Sergeant Paul Lawson of the NT JACET said, "This is another example of a multi-agency investigations detecting those who try to conceal their identities online and we are dedicated to identifying those who believe they are safe on the dark web".

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 at www.accce.gov.au/report.

(Source)


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