Sentencing for former ECEC educator
The Sector > Quality > Compliance > Sentencing for former ECEC educator charged with child exploitation offences

Sentencing for former ECEC educator charged with child exploitation offences

by Freya Lucas

May 13, 2024

Two men from New South Wales, one of whom was a former educator in a long day care (LDC) service, have been sentenced to a combined 63 years jail for a series of child abuse offences.


Before continuing with this story The Sector readers should be aware that the content may be confronting, and discusses crimes committed against children. A list of support services has been provided at the conclusion of the piece. 


The men, aged 30 and 25, pleaded guilty in 2022 to a combined 354 child abuse offences involving 30 child victims.


The older man was convicted of 248 offences and was sentenced to 37 years, with a non-parole period of 26 years.


The younger man was convicted of 106 offences and was sentenced to 26 years, with a non-parole period of 16 years and nine months.


Commander of NSW Police State Crime Command’s Child Abuse Squad, Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett, said her team was committed to the protection of children.


“Children are some of our community’s most vulnerable – and if you offend against them – it is only a matter of time before police come knocking on your door,” she said.


The pair were arrested in Operation Arkstone, a major AFP-led investigation launched in 2020 following a tip-off from the United States’ National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to the AFP’s Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE).


AFP’s Operation Arkstone dismantled a domestic online network of child sex offenders abusing and exploiting children, including the recording of the crimes to share with others.


Twenty-five people across Australia were charged with 1350 offences as a result of the investigation, with the digital trail identifying at least 56 child victims who were removed from harm.


The NSW men were arrested in June 2020 after investigators from AFP’s Eastern Command Child Protection Operations and NSW Police Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad executed search warrants in the state’s mid-north coast.


AFP Commander Kate Ferry said the AFP was ‘relentless’ in its pursuit of anyone producing and sharing child abuse material.


“Operation Arkstone began as a result of one small piece of information. What the AFP and its domestic and international law enforcement partners uncovered in the weeks and months that followed was truly some of the worst offending we have ever seen,” she said.


“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.”


“Operation Arkstone should serve as a warning 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.”


“Finally, and most importantly, I would like to acknowledge the courage of the victims and their families. Your determination to seek justice inspired our investigators every day. I hope today’s court result helps you to take the next step in your path towards healing.”


The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the ACCCE is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.


The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.


Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse are urged to contact the ACCCE. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.


If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available.


Previous coverage of this story for additional context is available here

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