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RAAF intelligence officer pleads guilty to 230 child sex abuse charges

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Royal Australian Air Force intelligence officer Sergeant Jacob Donald Walsh pleaded guilty to 230 charges of child sex abuse in Adelaide Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Walsh’s victims are alleged to have been from all over the world, and his crimes were said to have been committed while he worked for the Defence Science and Technology Group at RAAF Base Edinburgh’s electronic intelligence division.

The case is one of the biggest ever brought against a single offender.

Walsh pleaded guilty to offences involving the blackmail of victims by the use of sexually explicit photographs, child sexual abuse and exploitation, and online grooming.

Additional charges against the officer also included dishonestly communicating with a child, maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child, and producing abusive material.

Initially charged with two offences in May 2021, Walsh was released on bail only to be charged a second time in August with a further 45 offences. As of June, Walsh faced a total of 230 charges.

Walsh allegedly used social media, including Instagram accounts under the names ‘Jace Edwards’ and ‘Man Mountain’, to groom victims and solicit sex and child abuse materials.

Walsh is said to have cooperated with police by surrendering his account passwords.

Prosecutors said, “In excess of 1,000 messages, consisting of between 10,000 and 60,000 lines of chat, each directly relates to grooming children for specific sexual activities.”

Police said Walsh also possessed 11,000 videos and over 140,000 images relating to the offences.

While twenty-five of Walsh’s victims have been identified, prosecutors and the South Australian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) are working to identify a further potential fifteen victims.

In court on Tuesday, Walsh’s barrister Bill Morris said Walsh had pleaded guilty to each charge entered.

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