An Australian childcare worker faces more than 1,600 charges after allegedly sexually abusing 91 young girls between 2007 and 2022 at ten different childcare centres. The victims were all pre-pubescent girls at the time of the alleged crimes.
The 45-year-old man is also accused of documenting the alleged sex crimes through photos and videos.
Michael Fitzgerald, assistant police commissioner of New South Wales, says this case is one of the most horrific cases of sexual abuse he has ever seen.
“What this person did to these children is beyond anyone’s imagination. I can only say: You try not to be shocked after a long time in the police, but this is a horrific case.”
Australian detectives have been on the trail of this man for almost ten years after they came across child pornography that was shared on the dark web in 2014.
However, the detectives, whose search initially yielded nothing, made an unexpected breakthrough in August last year with the help of visual clues in the background of photographs at a childcare center in Brisbane.
The man was initially charged with only three charges, but now faces no fewer than 1,623 charges after detectives seized his phone, computer and hard drive.
These include 136 charges of rape, 110 of sexual intercourse with children under the age of ten and 613 charges of producing child pornography.
The man is believed to have captured all of his alleged crimes on film and eventually cataloged more than 4,000 photos and videos of abuse.
Experienced detectives describe the case as one of Australia’s “most horrific cases of child abuse”.
“I know this news sounds unimaginable and I know there will be many questions,” says Justine Gough, assistant federal police commissioner.
“There is not much comfort I can give to the parents and children who have been identified.”
The detectives in the case have so far been able to identify 87 of the 91 victims. The four remaining unidentified children were abused for a short time between 2013 and 2014 while the man was working abroad.
The Australian police are working closely with crime agencies to track down those children.
A task team of around 35 staff members has already been appointed to work on the investigation.
The man is expected to appear in court in Queensland on August 21. Once these proceedings are concluded, he will be extradited to New South Wales to stand trial there.