Eight arrested as investigations continue into alleged child abuse chat line - Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 11:36:59 AM

Detectives from State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad have arrested eight men and seized mobile phones, electronic items and illicit drugs, as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged transmission of child abuse material through an adult telephone service.

Earlier this year, Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) investigators established Strike Force Hank to investigate an adult telephone chat service used by a number of men to allegedly arrange the dissemination of child abuse material and discuss the sexual abuse of children.

Since last month, detectives have executed seven search warrants at locations across NSW, including Petersham, Cranebrook, Coffs Harbour, Shoal Bay, Gerroa, Surry Hills, and Stanmore.

During a subsequent search of the homes at Stanmore and Coffs Harbour, police allegedly located and seized quantities of cannabis.

Additionally, mobiles phones and electronic devices were located and seized for further forensic analysis from all seven locations.

Seven men – aged between 34 and 71 – were arrested during the warrants and charged over their alleged involvement in the chat service. They remain before the courts.

Following further inquiries, Strike Force Hank detectives attended a home at Sans Souci about 6.30am today (Tuesday 14 December 2021).

During a subsequent search, police located and seized a mobile phone for further forensic examination.

A 40-year-old man was arrested and taken to Kogarah Police Station, where he was charged with five counts of use carriage service transmit or publish or promote child abuse.

The man was granted conditional bail to appear at Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday 11 January 2021.

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said the investigation had uncovered alleged chat participants who were aggressive in their pursuit of child sex offending.

“We will allege that each of the men arrested by detectives over the past month expressed desires to engage in sexual activity with children, and in some cases, attempted to access child abuse material from other users of the service,” Det Supt Doherty said.

“Producing, disseminating or possessing child abuse material are serious offences, and detectives will continue to dismantle these types of operations, so children are free from harmful situations, exploitation and abuse.”

Investigations under Strike Force Hank continue.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Hank investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.