Three suspected victims of child sexual abuse were located and rescued as a result of an operation that involved police from both the state and federal levels in Western Australia.
During the course of seven days, officers from the WA Police Department and the Australian Federal Police executed about 61 search warrants around the state as part of the combined operation known as Operation Palomar and Operation Tamworth.
According to the police, over 35,000 photographs and videos were confiscated, and 45 persons were charged with a total of 149 offences.
According to the WA Police Detective Superintendent Gordon Fairman, exploitation material was an unmistakable indication that children were being harmed. The detectives’ first objective was to identify and rescue the children.
“People who make, distribute, or possess content that exploits children may assume they are disguising their identities behind a computer,” he said. “They may also believe that they are anonymous.”
“Permit me to assure you that they are not.
We are able to identify them, we are able to locate them, and we are able to bring charges against them.”
According to WA Police, the charges of child exploitation material possession against a former City of Stirling councillor named Keith Sargent and another former City of Stirling employee were linked to the operation.