A former Gold Coast childcare worker has been charged with more than 1,600 child sex offences spanning 15 years.
On Tuesday, the Australian Federal Police alleged the abuse occurred at 10 childcare centres in Brisbane between 2007 and 2013 and also between 2018 to 2022, at an overseas location between 2013 and 2014, and at one centre in Sydney between 2014 and 2017.
“We allege the 45-year-old man from the Gold Coast recorded all his alleged offending on his phone and cameras. The AFP is highly confident that all 87 Australian children who were recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been identified,” Assistant Commissioner Gough said.
“The Australian children recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been informed of the investigation. Some of the individuals identified in the alleged child abuse material are now aged 18 years and have been informed.”
The revelation has prompted questions from experts about how an alleged predator could have committed such disturbing acts undetected for so long.
“The sheer scale, duration and number of child victims of the alleged offending are staggering,” Dr Cathy Kezelman is the president of Blue Knot Foundation, Australia’s National Centre of Excellence for complex trauma, told The Educator.
“It boggles the mind that a predator can continue to commit such crimes against children in this day and age and go undetected for 15 years.”
However, Dr Kezelman said that at the same time, the persistence and skill of the AFP in identifying the man charged is to be lauded.
“Sadly, the clandestine nature of crimes against children by a person working in the childcare industry shows how insidious these activities can be,” she said.
“They also show the need for us as a community to be alert to the possible grooming of children, inappropriate access to them and the production of child sexual abuse material let alone sexual assaults.”
Dr Kezelman highlighted the need for those impacted to receive immediate support.
“It is critical for all the children identified to have been impacted and their families to receive the support they need as soon as possible, and in an ongoing way to allow them to rebuild their shattered lives.”
If you think a child is in immediate danger call Triple Zero (000), Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000, or your local police.