A middle-aged South Australian man will front court after he was allegedly found with pictures showing young girls being sexually abused.
An investigation into the 52-year-old began after the Australian Federal Police (AFP) received reports of an online user uploading 156 abusive files to Google Photos and Google Drive.
It led officers to link the man from the state’s Mid-West to the accounts and he was later arrested and charged with possessing child abuse material accessed or obtained using a carriage service.
The man’s home was searched on April 21 this year when SA JACET officers seized a laptop, two computer towers, a mobile phone and a notebook with handwritten passwords.
They allegedly discovered a “significant amount” of abusive material on the devices, which police said were being forensically examined further.
The man was granted police bail to appear in the Port Pirie Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
If convicted, the man faces a maximum penalty of 15 years behind bars.
AFP Detective Superintendent Gail McClure said the man’s arrest should act as another warning to offenders that authorities would “never stop” trying to find, identify and charge those involved in such a “vile” act.
“Our investigators are devoted to protecting Australian children from abuse and collaborate with international law enforcement to enhance the safety of children around the world,” she said.
SA Police Detective Superintendent Public Protection Branch James Blandford said every image at its core involved an innocent child being abused.
“That trauma is ongoing, not only for the victim and their families but the community generally,” he said.
The Mid-West man was not the only person charged with child abuse offences on Monday.
In a separate incident, SA Police also announced a 27-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman from Adelaide’s northern suburbs were allegedly caught producing child exploitation material.
The pair were bailed to appear in the Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court in July.
JACET is made up of AFP and police that focus on finding and convicting people who partake in the act, distribution or obtaining of child abuse material.
Anyone with information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.