A CENTRAL Coast man whose arrest sparked an Australian Federal Police investigation into an international child abuse network has been sentenced to 18 years.
The man pleaded guilty to 17 offences including sexual touching of a child under 10, committing sexual acts against a child under 10 and possessing, producing and disseminating child abuse material before his sentence in a Gosford court on Tuesday.
Officers arrested the man in February last year after a referral from the US via the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) of a Snapchat user uploading child abuse material.
Investigators linked the 30-year-old to the social media account and searched his Wyong home in February 2020.
They also seized a laptop computer and mobile devices, linked the man to an online network of men across Australia who were sharing child abuse material.
IN THE NEWS:
- NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard amends confusing work-from-home order for regions
- Richard Reay: Geoffrey Fardell told mother Sandra Deveson he was safe before Kempsey prison murder
- Woman dies as 27 of 78 new cases were active in community, Premier Gladys Berejilian says
- COVID exposure site at Wallsend's westbound Coles Express
- Mass COVID vaccine hub at old Belmont Bunnings site opens as Hunter people share reasons for getting the jab
He faced 80 extra charges in August under what has become Operation Arkstone, a police crackdown that has led to 1026 charges laid against 20 men.
The AFP said the operation has also identified 53 Australian child victims who have been removed from harm's way as a result of the digital trail stemming from the Central Coast arrest.
The 30-year-old man received a non-parole period of 12 years, which AFP Federal Agent Scott Veltmeyer said came after hard work from numerous teams within the federal force.
"We're pleased to have dismantled this network but it is truly heartbreaking that Australia is not immune to this heinous crime," Federal Agent Veltmeyer said.
"Preventing child exploitation remains a top priority for the AFP, we'll use whatever means necessary and leverage whatever relationship we can to ensure that those who harm our children are arrested and prosecuted."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: