A RETIRED Catholic priest living at Lake Haven was one of 65 people across Australia arrested as part of a global investigation targeting the users of a Canadian-based child exploitation website.
More than 300 suspects have been arrested worldwide during the investigation as 386 children were removed from harm, including six in Australia.
Police have announced that the three-year investigation by Canadian authorities have referred the details of numerous Australian-based users of the child exploitation website to policing jurisdictions in Australia.
Under what is known as Operation Thunderer, the Australian Federal Police and state and territory police have arrested 65 people who have been charged with 399 offences.
It includes the retired priest, 72, arrested at Lake Haven on August 20 and charged with possessing child abuse material and using a carriage service to access child pornography.
A Catholic priest was arrested at The Rocks in Sydney and two teachers are also amongst those charged.
Commander of the sex crimes squad, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, said the squad would continue to work closely with its counterparts both here in Australia and overseas to target those people involved in the sexual exploitation of children.
‘‘The internet has created new opportunities for sex offenders to target and sexually exploit children and we will continue to prioritise the identification of these people so they can be put before the courts,’’ Detective Superintendent Kerlatec said.
‘‘Behind every child abuse image there is a real victim who has been sexually exploited and abused, and we need to do everything we can to remove these children from harm and arrest those involved in that exploitation.’’
Operation Thunderer investigations are ongoing.