Detectives from the Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET) have arrested a 17-year-old NT Outback teenager for possessing child abuse material.
Northern Territory Police and Australian Federal Police (AFP) executed a search warrant at a residence this week and located electronic items and online accounts that allegedly contained child abuse material.
‘We will come knocking’
The 17-year-old male has been charged with access child abuse material through a carriage service and possession or control of child abuse material accessed through a carriage service. He is due to face local court on 17 November.
Detective Sergeant Paul Lawson of the NT Police said, “Our presence in the online environment is growing, if you are involved in this type of exploitation, it’s only a matter of time before we come knocking on your door.”
AFP Northern Command Detective Superintendent, Paula Hudson, noted that, alarmingly, the appetite for child exploitation material is increasing every day and it is not unusual for police to investigate matters involving alleged perpetrators who are teenagers or young adults.
Offenders can be any age
“This case and the arrest of a 20-year-old near Katherine (also in the Northern Territory) on Thursday is a reminder that there is no single profile of a child sex offender – they can be any age or gender and be found in a range of occupations,” she said.
“Our members will investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the exploitation or abuse of children – no matter their age or where they may live.”
JACET is a task force bringing together the NT Police and AFP to combat online child exploitation.
Material on laptop and phones
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old man accused of accessing child abuse material from the dark web faced Katherine Local Court on Friday charged with two offences.
Officers allegedly found child abuse material stored on two mobile phones and a laptop computer that belonged to the 20-year-old.
The arrest was a result of an investigation launched after the Australian Federal Police received a report from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about a person transmitting child abuse material via a social media application.
Accessed material from dark web
Police will allege the 20-year-old had a number of virtual private network (VPN) applications and browsers capable of connecting to the dark web on his electronic devices.
It will be alleged he had been accessing child abuse material from dark web sites and transferring it to his mobile telephones.
“Our members drove six hours for this rural warrant. It does not matter where you are in Australia: a city, the outback, a regional town – our members will do what it takes to protect our children,” Detective Superintendent Hudson said.