Australian police bust massive online child abuse ring

Australian police bust massive online child abuse ring

Police have busted an online child exploitation ring, charging 14 men in Australia with filming and sharing the abuse of 46 babies and children.

Men from NSW, Queensland and Western Australia are accused of preying on children and uploading child abuse material to an online network.

The accused offenders range in age from 20 to 48 years old and include a childcare worker and a volunteer football coach.

Police have alleged that the former childcare worker had used his job and "other deceptive means" in his personal life to gain access to 30 children, who he then shared with his partner who allegedly participated in the abuse.

The 27-year-old man has been charged with more than 300 offences, including having sexual intercourse with a child under 10, indecent assault of a child under 16 and intentionally sexually touching a child under 10.

Police began arresting the men in February, with the latest arrest on Friday.

Investigators have laid more than 800 charges and have not ruled out further arrests, with eight NSW men have been charged with 577 offences against 39 children.

Bestiality charges relating to four animals were also laid against men in NSW.

Australian federal police's acting commander of child protection operations, Christopher Woods, said that the scale of offending was unprecedented.

“These men allegedly produced child abuse material for the depraved pleasure of their peers with absolutely no thought to the lasting effects their actions would have on these children,” he said on Wednesday.

“Police will allege Operation Arkstone revealed a network of abuse, where the alleged offenders in the forums encouraged and emboldened each other to engage in acts of depravity and abuse of children.”

More than 140 referrals to international police were made during the investigation, including 18 to the US which has led to three arrests.