Australia: Man charged with 1,623 sex crimes against minors
The man was arrested last August following an almost decadelong hunt after a cache of child sexual abuse material was found on the dark web in 2014
A 45-year-old Australian childcare worker has been charged with committing many hundreds of sex crime offenses against 91 prepubescent girls, including some as young as 1 year old, police said on Tuesday.
The man was arrested last August following an almost decadelong hunt after a cache of child sexual abuse material was found on the dark web in 2014.
He faces life in prison if found guilty.
The 1,623 charges include 136 counts of rape, 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child younger than 10 and 613 counts of producing child sex abuse material.
What do we know?
Police said the crimes were committed at 10 different childcare centers in the eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales where the man worked between 2007 and 2022.
He was said by police to have gone through the stringent background checks required in Australia to work in the childcare sector.
Police believe the man filmed or took pictures of all his alleged crimes, resulting in more than 4,000 photos and videos of abuse.
This material was used to identify 87 of the 91 victims, who are all from New South Wales or Queensland, according to investigators. Four more, who remain unidentified, were abused while the man worked overseas between 2013 and 2014.
Police said they were now working with international authorities to find those children but declined to say what country or countries are concerned.
The arrest came after police in August last year identified a childcare center in the Queensland capital of Brisbane in the background of some images.
What have officials said?
"I know this news will seem unfathomable, and I know there will be many questions," said assistant federal police commissioner Justine Gough.
"There is not much solace I can give to the parents and children who have been identified," she added.
New South Wales assistant police commissioner Michael Fitzgerald said it was "beyond the realms of anyone's imagination what this person did to these children."
"I can only say, you try not to be shocked after a long period of time in the police, but this is a horrific case," he added.
The man is scheduled to appear in court in Queensland on August 21. After the conclusion of those hearings, he will be taken to New South Wales to face further charges.