Pair committed hundreds of ‘predatory’ child abuse acts

Duncan Murray |

Sentencing has been delayed for an ex-childcare worker and another man on multiple abuse charges.
Sentencing has been delayed for an ex-childcare worker and another man on multiple abuse charges.

Two men who committed hundreds of acts of sexual abuse against children, including family members and those in their care at a childcare centre, have had their shocking crimes laid bare in court.

The men, who are aged 25 and 30, were arrested in NSW in June 2020 under national child protection taskforce, Operation Arkstone.

At the time the pair were in a relationship with each other, the dynamics of which contributed to the offending, the court was told.

The men pleaded guilty to serious child abuse offences including aggravated sexual intercourse with very young children, in March 2022.

Despite sitting all day on Thursday, a sentence hearing at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court was unable to get through the full list of offences and postponed delivery of the men’s sentences until next week.

The older man, who worked at a childcare centre, admitted 195 acts of a sexual nature against 27 children.

The younger man, who claimed to have been significantly influenced by the other, pleaded guilty to 109 offences including sexual acts against seven children.

Children at early learning centre (file image)
The pattern of abuse was uncovered when a parent told the childcare centre about her son. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

A number of the victims were the children of the younger man’s sisters.

The older man was employed by a childcare centre in June 2017 as an early childhood educator, during which he recorded hundreds of photos and videos of children.

The pattern of abuse was uncovered when one of the parents told the centre her son complained the man kissed him on the lips and liked “looking at his bum”.

Following an investigation, the man was served a prohibition notice preventing him from working in childcare and education and he resigned from the centre in January 2019.

Police later recovered hundreds of thousands of child abuse images and videos from devices seized from the men.

The older man admitted sharing the material online and collaborating with a network of like-minded persons, the true extent of which was not known, the court was told.

Judge Sarah Hopkins said the men engaged in a predatory and persistent pattern of offending, and dehumanised their victims as “play things”.

Despite the men’s relatively young age at the time of the offending, with the older man being a juvenile himself when it began, Judge Hopkins said in light of its “prolonged and egregious” nature their age held less significance. 

She noted significant jail time imposed on the men reflected the community’s “abhorrence” for such crimes and the need for general deterrence.

Both men reported being sexually abused themselves as children, including extreme acts of sexual degradation committed against the older man, which were reportedly filmed and posted online.

Judge Hopkins accepted the older man was remorseful but had limited insight into the nature of his offending.

In a letter to the court, the man said: “I confused love care, trust and affection with abuse.”

The older man demonstrated narcissistic, pedophiliac and empathy disorders, and had a high risk of future offending – meaning he should never be given access to children, the court was told.

He may also be a candidate for anti-libidinal therapy, commonly referred to as “chemical castration”.

The younger man was deemed to have a better chance of rehabilitation, especially outside of his relationship with the other.

He was remorseful and told family members he wished he could ask for a death sentence because that was what he believed he deserved.

Both men reported being sexually and physically assaulted while behind bars and as a result were being housed in protective custody.

Sentencing was set for Tuesday 7 May.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028