A Former Childcare Worker Has Been Charged With 1,623 Sexual Abuse Offences Against 91 Children

A Former Childcare Worker Has Been Charged With 1,623 Sexual Abuse Offences Against 91 Children

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses child sexual abuse.

A 45-year-old man from the Gold Coast who worked at dozens of early learning childcare centres has been charged with more than 1,000 sexual abuse offences against 91 young girls both in Australia and overseas.

Police first became aware of the alleged offences in 2014, when they discovered a video on the dark web. They were able to trace the video to a childcare centre in Brisbane because of some key features in the background.

Officers arrested the former childcare worker, who had a working with children qualification, in August 2022 and executed warrants at his home and other addresses. They allegedly found a hard drive filled with child abuse material, including nearly 4,000 images and videos of very young girls, which Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Justine Gough said were “deeply distressing” and “unfathomable”.

“Given there were so many alleged images and videos of children recorded over 15 years on the alleged offender’s devices, the process of identification took time, skill and determination,” Gough said, per Guardian Australia.

“While I am extremely proud of law enforcement’s persistence, and their unwavering dedication to identify this alleged offender and stop further abuse, this is chilling news.”

The man is now facing 1,623 charges including 136 counts of rape and 110 counts of sexual intercouse with a child under 10, which are alleged to have taken place between 2007 and 2022.

87 of the alleged victims were Australian. The rest of the offences allegedly occurred overseas in 2013 and 2014.

10 of the childcare centres in which the offences were alleged to have occurred were in Brisbane, with one in Sydney.

Gough said police were confident all 87 Australian girls allegedly recorded in the child abuse material had been found, identified and had their parents notified. However, the AFP is still working with international authorities to identify the four children in alleged videos created overseas. Police believe all the alleged offending was recorded.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald said the man will be extradited to NSW and slapped with 100 offences, and that the alleged victims — some of whom are now over 18 — will not be asked to testify out of respect for their mental health.

“Once this man faces the AFP charges in Queensland, we will be seeking to extradite him to Sydney to face the full force of the law in NSW,” he said, per Guardian Australia.

“This is one of the most horrific child abuse cases that I’ve seen in nearly 40 years of policing.”

The man is scheduled to appear in Brisbane magistrates court on 21 August.

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