“Some of the worst offending we have ever seen”: Two NSW men jailed for child sexual abuse

“Some of the worst offending we have ever seen”: Two NSW men jailed for child sexual abuse
Image: Still of a video of the men's arrest. Supplied: AFP

Two NSW men, including a former childcare worker, have been jailed for a combined total of 63 years for hundreds of child abuse offences.

The pair were arrested in June 2020 by a major federal police operation and pleaded guilty two years later to 354 child abuse offences between them, which involved 30 victims.

The men, aged 30 and 25, appeared at Downing Centre District Court today, and were amongst 25 people charged across Australia charged with 1350 offences. The digital trail at least 56 child victims who were removed from harm.

Formerly a couple, the men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were aged between 18 and their early 20s at the time of their offences.

Amongst the former childcare worker’s offences was sexually abusing a very young child and using a young child to make child abuse material, often exchanging the material with other paedophiles on platforms like Snapchat.

Today in court, he was convicted of 248 offences. He was sentenced in the NSW District Court to a maximum 37 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 26 years.

His younger associate was convicted of 106 offences. He was sentenced to a maximum of 26 years with a non-parole period of 16 years and nine months.

Both men’s offending included sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10. They have been in custody since their arrest in 2020.

Upon one man’s arrest, 29,500 video files and more than 100,000 images were found on his phone.

Judge Sarah Hopkins said the abuse they recorded was of “extreme depravity”.

Speaking to the lifelong difficulties of child abuse victims, the judge said, “Early sexual relationships with adults will often exploit and exacerbate a precarious sense of self-worth and self-respect with the victim, which may have lifelong consequences, including the inability to form stable partnerships in adulthood and possible self-destructive behaviour.”

Operation Arkstone 

According to a statement by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), “AFP’s Operation Arkstone dismantled a domestic online network of child sex offenders abusing and exploiting children, including the recording of the horrific crimes to share with others.”

Commander Kate Ferry said that what the AFP and its domestic and international law enforcement partners have uncovered was “truly some of the worst offending we have ever seen.”

The operation began following a tip off from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in the US.

“The criminal behaviour of these two men is perhaps the most disturbing representation of what child sex offenders are capable of, being the systemic sexual abuse of children over many years, across geographical locations and by people who have been entrusted with so much responsibility,” she continued.

“Some of those arrested during Operation Arkstone were meant to keep our children safe. Instead, they used their position to commit some of the most evil crimes imaginable.”

Commander Ferry went on to warn that “there is no dark corner of the internet that is safe for offenders to hide, and there is nowhere the AFP and its law enforcement partners won’t go to hunt you down and drag you out into the light.”

She also acknowledged the bravery of victims that had come forward and their families.

Operation Arkstone began in early 2020 on the Central Coast, in the small town of Wyong.

There, child abuse investigators found the USB and mobile in the bedroom of a 29-year-old man separate to the childcare worker and his partner. The devices were filled with depraved material.

He pleaded guilty in February 2020 to 17 crimes, amongst them filming himself sexually assaulting a young boy and sharing child abuse material with 19 people online.

A few months later, police arrested a soccer coach in the western outskirts of Sydney, who pleaded guilty to 179 offences, including sex with a child under 10. He had also shared thousands of child sex abuse images and videos.

The former soccer coach was sentenced to 30 years prison two years ago but is in the process of appealing his sentence.


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