A Katherine man will spend a maximum of 18 months in prison after he was convicted of child abuse offenses that included peddling child exploitation materials in social media, the Australian Federal Police said.
Federal police said the 21-year-old man was put behind bars on Thursday.
In October 2020, the Northern Territory Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (NT JACET) executed a search warrant at his home in Katherine after the AFP received a report from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about a person transmitting child abuse material via a social media application.
The social media platform used was not detailed by authorities.
Authorities found a collection of child abuse materials stored on two mobile phones and a laptop computer.
Police said it was verified that the devices belonged to the man.
The AFP said the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the illegal online activities investigated by authorities matched the man’s residence in Katherine.
“Some of the illegal online activity was allegedly transmitted from the Katherine property where the 21-year-old lived,” police said.
Police also said the 21-year-old had a number of virtual private network (VPN) applications and browsers capable of connecting to the dark web on his electronic devices.
It was found he had been accessing child abuse material from dark web sites and transferring it to his mobile telephones.
The man earlier pleaded guilty to two offences in August 2021 – accessing child abuse material and possession or control of child abuse material.
Police said the man must serve a minimum of six months’ imprisonment before becoming eligible for parole.
In September last year, NT JACET have also charged a 72-year-old man in Marrakai for allegedly transmitting and possessing child abuse material as well as grooming-related offences.
In 2020 alone, the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation’s (ACCCE) Child Protection Triage Unit received more than 21,000 reports of online child sexual exploitation.
The organisation says they intercepted and examined more than 250,000 child abuse material files during that period.
The Australian Federal Police charged a total of 191 people with 1847 alleged child abuse-related offences in 2020.