CHILD PORN RAIDS

By AAP and RACHEL SCOLLAY

A CHILDCARE centre owner, teachers and police officers are among at least 191 people facing charges after a massive nationwide crackdown on child Internet porn linked to organised crime in eastern Europe.

Doctors, members of the armed forces, government officials, and an assistant to a State MP were also among those targeted by Australia's biggest anti-child porn operation, police said.

Together they face thousands of charges, ranging from rape and sexual assault to sex tourism and creating and possessing child porn, said State and Federal Police.

Two Northern Rivers properties were among those targeted in a week of raids across the country.

No arrests were made at either the Woodburn or Brunswick Heads properties, however computer hard-drives were seized and will be forensically examined.

Nationwide searches at more than 400 properties yielded more than two million pornographic images of children ranging in age from two to 16.

One particularly disturbing series featured a two-year-old in scenes of child bondage.

Some homes appeared to have studios and darkrooms designed specifically for producing child pornography.

Among the most shocking revelations was that the owner of three childcare centres in Melbourne had been charged with possession of child pornography.

Released on bail, the man has been ordered not to go near his centres, in unnamed suburbs, while parents were yesterday being contacted by government officials.

"There is no evidence to suggest that children are at risk who attended those centres," Victoria Police's Assistant Commissioner Simon Overland said.

In another case, police in Queensland said the nationwide police operation had 'rescued' seven children from one Brisbane paedophile.

Police said children aged from five to 13, and whose images were found on a seized computer, had been systematically abused by the paedophile in their neighbourhood.

Their parents had been unaware of the years of abuse, said Det Insp Brian Huxley. "I don't want to over-dramatise it, but really they have been rescued from further abuse," he said.

According to State and territory police figures released yesterday, 68 people were so far facing charges in Victoria, 57 in Queensland, 28 in NSW, 24 in Western Australia, seven in the Northern Territory, six in South Australia and one in Tasmania.

More suspects were being questioned tonight and further charges expected, police said.

All those facing charges appear to have accessed pay-per-view child porn websites hosted by organised crime groups in eastern Europe.

State and territory police seized 380 computers, CDs, photographic equipment and magazines as they executed more than 400 search warrants.

Porn collections ranged from one or two images up to one person's library in WA, which contained more than 200,000 images accumulated over decades.



More rain means tonnes of choking mud in the river

More rain means tonnes of choking mud in the river

It's going to be unpleasant if you want to go fishing this weekend

Cops allege $100,000 stolen property at OMCG home

Cops allege $100,000 stolen property at OMCG home

Outlaw motorcycle gang member charged

'We know who they are': Locals fed up with young criminals

'We know who they are': Locals fed up with young criminals

Ballina residents say it's time to name and shame

Local Partners