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Tiny device hid 'unthinkable' child abuse material

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They were two tiny pieces of computer technology about the size of a pinky finger and a palm.

But a cell phone and a USB stick in a toy-filled bedroom in a nondescript house unleashed some of the most depraved pedophilia ever uncovered in Australia.

The devastating discovery was just one tentacle of the country’s largest online child abuse investigation. It was just the beginning.

The search warrant was the result of a global effort that began with input from US authorities. His ensuing two and a half years snowballed into an investigation of the scale never before undertaken by the Australian Federal Police.

These shocking discoveries have shaken even the most seasoned child protection officer, as pedophiles utilize sophisticated encryption methods and popular chat platforms to exchange child abuse images and videos online. became a strong warning.

For the first time, the frontline cop spearheading the investigation shares its inner workings and the challenges involved in sifting through millions of unimaginably terrifying material and dropping a devastating news bomb on families. Did.

“It was a real shock,” AFP’s acting sergeant Scott Veltmeyer said from AFP’s Sydney headquarters, recalling the moment he first saw the content at his home in Wyong.

“It was terrifying, unthinkable material. I couldn’t believe this was happening to children. You wouldn’t want anyone to see those videos.”

Despite her days spent chasing the foulest predators, it was the accent that rocked battle-hardened AFP Detective Chief Constable Kate Laidler.

“These children were clearly Australian,” she said, referring to the victims in the pile of videos she faced.

“I could tell from the accent and the material… we are keenly aware that we are the only ones looking for these children and may be the only chance to save them. I feel it.”

A mother was grateful that her son was saved from the cruel hands of former soccer coach Grant Harden. Grant Harden documented himself abusing several children and sent thousands of those and other child abuse videos to his syndicate online, where they were instead abused by others. received the materials.

However, the damage already taken could not be undone.

“Looking back, ‘How did I not see the signs? How did I not know this person was doing these things to our child?'” the mother asked.

“It’s a heartbreaking feeling of failure as a parent…because someone hurt our child and we didn’t know it.”

Harden was jailed for at least 22 years, but he intends to appeal. But his family, which he has shattered, lives in prison for life.

They share stories of betrayal and heartbreak, highlighting uncomfortable yet incredibly important issues.

And finally, all the men associated with the disgusting online syndicate can be revealed. From those who pleaded guilty to viewing some of the material to those who pleaded guilty to abusing a child themselves.

where you need help

If you have an emergency and feel you or others are in danger, call 111.

• If you’ve been sexually assaulted or abused and need to talk to someone, call the Confidential Crisis Helpline

safe to talk

0800 044 334 or text 4334 (24/7)

male survivor aotearoa

We offer a range of confidential support at our centers across New Zealand –

Find your closest match here.
• Mosaic – Tiaki Tangata: 0800 94 22 94 (11am-8pm)
• Or contact your local police station.Click here for the list.

Remember, if you’ve been abused, it’s not your fault.