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Sydney soccer coach sentenced after pleading guilty to 179 child abuse offences during Operation Arkstone

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In breaking news, Australian Federal Police have just released the details of a Western Sydney soccer coach who has been convicted of sexually assaulting seven children, as a result of AFP’s Operation Arkstone.

As part of investigations, the AFP reported that the 31-year-old man had been linked to a significant online child abuse network, and was arrested on Sunday, 8 May 2021, during a search warrant executed at his home.

Vision of the arrest during Operation Arkstone.

The Sydney coach made admissions to police that he sexually assaulted seven children that had been in his care over the last three years.

He also admitted to producing and transmitting child abuse material to numerous other people.

He has been sentenced to a 30-year jail term after appearing in the Downing Centre District Court.

Before the Central Local Court in July 2021, the man pleaded guilty to 179 child abuse charges, including 26 charges that carried a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. He will be eligible for parole after serving 22 years of his sentence.

Operation Arkstone was launched in February 2020 following a referral to the AFP Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States, which led to the arrest of a 30-year-old Central Coast man for child abuse offences.

An investigation by forensic specialists identified other potential offenders, with examinations of subsequent arrests leading to more potential offenders. Police report that this trail led them to multiple offenders in the network, including the Western Sydney soccer coach.

Investigations conducted during Operation Arkstone uncovered a ‘digital trail’ which has identified 56 child victims in Australia. These children have been removed from further harm.

The AFP reports that 26 Australian males have been charged with a total of 1352 offences.

There were 154 international referrals to overseas law enforcement agencies.

Acting Sergeant Scott Veltmeyer from the AFP also stated that 11 dogs have been removed from further harm.

In the statement released by the AFP, it said,

“Investigators from Homeland Security Investigations in the US have been integral in identifying the online network of alleged child sex offenders throughout Operation Arkstone, resulting in multiple arrests in the US as part of an ongoing investigation.”

In a series of transcribed audio recordings released by Acting Sergeant Scott Veltmeyer, he said,

“Unfortunately, online child abuse material is not rare, and is a focus for the Australian Federal Police and other law enforcement agencies.”

“Operation Arkstone is the largest and most significant Australian Federal Police led child protection investigation in Australian history, that has exposed a network of child sex offenders. To date, 26 offenders across Australia have been charged with 1352 offences. 56 children and 11 dogs have been removed from harm, and Australian Federal police have sent 154 international referrals across the world to partner agencies through the Australian Federal Police’s national network.”

“This is the longest sentence that has been handed down as part of Operation Arkstone and serves a clear message to offenders that if you engage in these abhorrent activities, you will be found and face the full force of the law.”

“Sexual abuse has a devastating and long-lasting impact on children and their families, and I urge the public to come forward and report any suspicious activity.”

“Operation Arkstone demonstrates the AFP’s commitment to investigate and charge offenders believed to be involved in child exploitation and sexual abuse.”

“Our investigators are relentless in their pursuit of anyone producing, sharing, or accessing child abuse material, and we will continue to work with our domestic and international partners to bring these perpetrators to justice.”

The Australian Federal Police urge anyone who may have information about child exploitation to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Reports can also be made online by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available – visit the ACCCE to learn more.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at ThinkUKnow, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

The Australian Federal Police have provided vision of the arrest, audio grabs of Acting Sergeant Scott Veltmeyer and an infographic of Operation Arkstone which are available via Hightail.

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