Eight men arrested after alleged involvement in transmission of child abuse material


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 Shoal Bay, Petersham, Cranebrook, Coffs Harbour, Gerroa, Surry Hills, and Stanmore.

During searches of the Stanmore and Coffs Harbour properties, police allegedly located and seized quantities of cannabis.

At all seven of the locations, phones and electronic devices have been located and seized for further forensic analysis.

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.

Eight men aged between 34 and 71 have been arrested and charged over their alleged involvement in the chat service, including former NRL star Brett Finch who has been charged with five alleged counts of use of a carriage service to transmit, publish or promote child abuse.

He was granted conditional bail to appear in his local court in January.

All other men currently remain before the courts.

“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,” Det Supt Doherty said.



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