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Operation Molto – Fighting Child Exploitation

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A 25-year-old man has been jailed for accessing and transmitting child abuse material.

One of two men from South-Western Sydney was charged and sentenced to four years in what police call Operation Molto.

Last Friday ( May 27 ) Campbelltown Local Court saw the young man plead guilty in October 2021 to 12 offences with regards to video as well as photos of children being sexually abused.

One count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to s.474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth);

Six counts of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material, contrary to s.474.22(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth);

One count of using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material, contrary to s.474.22(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth);

Three counts of using a carriage service to cause child abuse material to be transmitted to himself, contrary to s.474.22(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth) (one additional count is to be placed on the s16BA schedule).

His sentence of four years in jail includes a non-parole period of two years and six months.

The first man arrested as a result of Operation Molto was also a 25-year-old male, arrested for the same crime back in July 2021 and charged with two offences –

Possess/control child abuse material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth);

Use carriage service to transmit child abuse material to self, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

He was sentenced to a period of two years and seven months in jail, including a non-parole period of one year and six months.

Operation Molto began in 2019 after Australian Federal Police led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation which received information from the New Zealand Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs exhibiting thousands of offenders using cloud storage to share horrific child abuse material online.

They then teamed up with Eastern Command Digital Forensics and Eastern Command Imagery and Geomatics. As a result, they executed search warrants at a residential address in Eagle Vale in Sydney in September 2020. They were successful in seizing several electronic devices containing images of child sexual abuse.

AFP Detective Leading Senior Constable Amanda Thompson said ‘We will continue to do everything in our power to end the abhorrent industry that preys on our community’s most vulnerable – children. Unfortunately, online child abuse material is not rare, and we urge parents and the broader community to educate children on how to stay safe online

“Our message to offenders accessing or exchanging child abuse material is that we will track you down and ensure you face the full force of the law for your actions.”

Molto has been successful in uncovering and convicting over 100 Australians with over 1,000 child abuse offences. The worldwide operation has resulted in 153 children being moved from harm, including 51 here in Australia.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

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