Police have identified seven South Australian children as alleged victims of a 32-year-old man charged with numerous sex offences.
At the time of the alleged offending the man was employed with Families SA caring for children in a Government-run residential care facility and at an Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) service.
JOINT STATEMENT SOUTH AUSTRALIA POLICE (SAPOL) AND THE DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT (DECD)
Police arrested the southern suburbs man on June 10 and charged him with:
• seven counts of unlawful sexual intercourse
• aggravated production of child exploitation material
• aggravated dissemination of child exploitation material
• aggravated possession of child exploitation material.
The man appeared in court and was remanded in custody.
At the time of the alleged offending he was employed with Families SA caring for children in a Government-run residential care facility and at an Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) service.
Police will allege that all the victims were in the man’s care at the residential facility.
To date no victims have been identified from the OSHC service.
On June 6 Special Crime Investigation Branch investigators received information nominating the man as someone disseminating child exploitation material.
An investigation began immediately and Detectives searched his house on June 9.
At that point police were not aware of any contact offending between the alleged offender and child victims, and the focus of the investigation related to the possession and dissemination of child exploitation material.
However, during the search of his home, police found evidence of contact offending. This led to seven charges of unlawful sexual intercourse being laid on June 10. SAPOL published details of the arrest the following day.
When the charges were laid, investigators were not aware of the identities of the victims, the location where the offences were committed or the timeframe of the offending.
Since his arrest specialist sex crime investigators have been working with SAPOL computer analysts to identify the victims.
To date Detectives from Special Crime Investigation Branch have had to analyse more than 100,000 still images and 600 video files.
Families SA has been assisting police to identify the victims.Late on Wednesday 16 July investigators were able to positively identify seven victims.
The identity process has been complex as it has involved comparing the images of the victims against documentary material provided by Families SA.
Police and Families SA are currently informing the parents of the seven children of the alleged offending.
David Waterford, Deputy Chief Executive (Child Safety) for DECD said the parents and care givers of these children would be provided with full support from Families SA and Child Protection Services.
“We are working very closely with SA Police to visit the families and carers and ensure they have all the support they need.
“Our department will also be working with the school that provided the out of school hours and vacation care services to make sure that parents are also notified of the alleged offending.
“For an organisation that has the care and concern of vulnerable children as its foremost priority, this is a disturbing and horrifying matter.”
Assistant Commissioner (Crime) Paul Dickson said the investigation is not complete and further victims may be identified.
“This investigation will remain a priority for police,” he said.
“Due to the complexity and enormity of the data yet to be analysed this investigation may take many months to complete.
“The offending we have identified so far occurred in an 18 month period between mid 2011 and the end of 2012.
“At this point we have not identified any other offenders, but we will not know if the alleged offender was acting alone or with others until the investigation is complete.
“If we do identify more victims, their parents or guardians will be advised as a priority and will be supported.
“As a police officer and as a father I am abhorred by these crimes.
“This investigation can best be described as horrific – horrific for the victims and their families and a terrible task for the police who have worked tirelessly to review these images.
“But I want to assure the public that our very clear objective is to identify all victims of this alleged abuse, and provide them and their families with the support they need,” AC Dickson said.
For anyone who believes they may have information relating to this investigation they should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The man is due to appear next in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on August 19.
NOTE: A court suppression order is in place in relation to this case.
Categories: GENERAL News