Former child-care worker in Australia faces more than 1,600 abuse charges, police say


WARNING: This article contains details of abuse.

A former child-care worker in Australia is facing 1,623 charges of child abuse offences against 91 children, police in Brisbane said Tuesday.

The charges include 136 counts of rape and 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10 years old. All of the alleged victims are girls.

The 45-year-old man from the Gold Coast charged in the case has not yet been named.

According to Australian Federal Police, the alleged victims attended 10 child-care centres in Brisbane between 2007 and 2013, and from 2018 to 2022; an overseas location in 2013 and 2014; and a centre in Sydney between 2014 and 2017.

The man was arrested a year ago and is in custody in the state of Queensland, but it’s taken this long for police to identify alleged victims.

The man allegedly filmed all his attacks on the pre-pubescent girls.

“Given there were so many alleged images and videos of children recorded over 15 years on the alleged offender’s devices, the process of identification took time, skill and determination,” Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Justine Gough said in a police statement.

A male police officer speaks at a media briefing.
New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald speaks to the media on Tuesday. (ABC/Reuters)

The videos are something even veteran police officers, such as Michael Fitzgerald, the assistant commissioner of New South Wales state police, have found difficult to watch.

“It’s beyond the realms of anyone’s imagination what this person did to these children,” Fitzgerald said. “I can only say that you try not to be shocked after a long period of time in the police and crime reporting, but this is a horrific, horrific case.”

The victims of the alleged abuse included 87 Australian children. Some of them are now adults. Police say all those victims have now been identified and their families contacted.

The other four victims are from overseas and police are still working to identify them, Australian Federal Police said.

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911. 

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