Tasmanian man charged for role in online child exploitation network

This is a joint media release between Tasmania Police and the Australian Federal Police

A 30-year-old man is the first Tasmanian to be charged for his alleged role in national child exploitation network.

As part of the AFP-led Operation Arkstone, a warrant was executed at a Hobart property yesterday (25 November 2021) by members of the Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET) involving Tasmania Police and the AFP.

At the warrant officers located multiple electronic devices allegedly containing child exploitation material. The material includes images, videos and online chat messages relating to child exploitation.

Police also seized a total of 19 electronic devices in the search, as well as a small quantity of ammunition.

The man is one of 22 men across Australia who have been charged and more importantly 55 children have been removed from harm as part of Operation Arkstone.

The operation that commenced in early 2020 led to the discovery of an online network of alleged child sex offenders producing and sharing child abuse material on social media.

The man faced the Hobart Magistrates Court yesterday on two child exploitation offences under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act.

  • Use Carriage Service For Child Abuse Material;
  • Possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service.

Investigations into this network of child abuse are continuing.

Acting Inspector Todd Bain from Tasmania Police’s High Risk Child Exploitation Unit said child exploitation, online or otherwise, has a lifelong impact on victims – and it won’t be tolerated

“Tasmania Police is committed to bringing predators to account, and we will continue to work closely with our AFP counterparts and other national and international partners to investigate these offences,” he said.

Tasmanian JACET AFP Detective Sergeant Aaron Hardcastle said this arrest highlights the strong collaborative partnerships between the AFP and its state law enforcement to tackle online child abuse networks.

“The first Tasmanian arrest as part of Operation Arkstone highlights the tireless efforts to protect children, our most vulnerable members of our community,” he said.

“The AFP, state and international law enforcement partners are committed to bringing people before the court for committing these abhorrent crimes.”

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.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available, visit the ACCCE to learn more.

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