CANBERRA, Australia - A 35 year old American man has been arrested and charged in the U.S. over alleged child sex and exploitation material offences after police from the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) identified and tracked the man online.
The ACCCE notified Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) after its Covert Online Engagement Team (COET) identified a user from an Internet forum based in America allegedly producing and uploading a series of explicit images depicting a young female child.
Homeland Security Investigations officers rescued the child victim and arrested the accused at his home in Rushville, Indiana on Friday.
In a separate investigation, the ACCCE COET infiltrated a child sex offender network operating in the dark net that resulted in the interception of 3,500 images and video files depicting the sexual exploitation of children.
The material was immediately reviewed by the ACCCE Victim Identification Team, resulting in the detection of 60 previously unidentified child victims and the addition of content to 66 separate cases that are being investigated by the global law enforcement community.
"The consumption, production and dissemination of child abuse material has horrific lifelong impacts on its victims," Australian Federal Police (AFP) Acting Commander ACCCE and Child Protection Paula Hudson said Friday.
"Our commitment to these investigations will not cease despite the challenging circumstances we may face here in Australia and across the globe due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The AFP, together with our state and international partners will continue to work tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable in our community - our children."
"Anyone involved in the consumption, production and dissemination of child abuse material, whether it is in Australia or abroad, be warned, we will find you and you will face severe penalties."
"This has come at critical time," said Adam Parks, the HSI Attache to Australia.
"More so than ever, children are online for their schooling, to socialise with their friends and family, and to play games. Let this be a warning that law enforcement is undeterred by COVID-19 and remains on-duty to keep our children safe in Australia, the U.S., and online."
Members of the public who have any information about people involved in the possession or sharing of child exploitation material 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.