Global child abuse ring centred in Australia exposed

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – A tip from United States (US) authorities has exposed a major child sex abuse ring in Australia with links to the US, Canada, Asia, Europe and New Zealand, police said yesterday.

A childcare worker and a children’s football coach were among 16 men arrested in the Australian states of New South Wates, Queensland and Western Australia in recent months on 828 charges of sexually abusing children, producing and distributing child abuse material, Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Justine Gough said.

Investigators identified 46 victims in Australia aged 16 months to 15 years.

“No child should be subjected to abuse and violence from the people they trust, whether that is a family member, a childcare worker or a football coach,” Gough said. “Sadly and heartbreakingly, this has been the case for the victims” abused in Australia.

Police referred 18 “matters” to the US, where three men have been arrested for multiple offences related to child abuse material, Gough said.

Another 128 matters were referred to authorities in Canada, Asia, Europe and New Zealand for investigation. Police have not elaborated on those allegations.

The US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a government-funded non-profit, provided Australian police with their initial tip in February that a man in New South Wales was uploading child abuse material, Gough said.