A grandfather has been charged over a child exploitation ring after detectives seized naked photos of his infant granddaughter which he was allegedly sharing online.
9 News reports the 61-year-old man, who cannot be named, is one of five people arrested in Sydney since October over the alleged network, which has also been connected with bestiality.
Four men and one woman came to the attention of NSW police after a tip-off from their Queensland colleagues about the online activities of one of the men last June.
It’s believed they had access to more than 10 potential child victims, aged between infants and early teens, within their own family and friendship networks.
But police have confirmed none of the children were harmed by the group, who connected with each other online.
“The internet obviously creates a situation where like-minded people are able to meet and engage in this type of activity,” Sex Crimes Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett told reporters on Monday.
The grandfather, two other men aged 50 and 47, and a 45-year-old woman were arrested by detectives in raids in October and November last year and have been in custody since.
A fourth man, aged 49, was granted bail after being arrested at his workplace on Friday.
Detectives seized communications between group members describing sexual activity with children and showing images depicting sexual activity with a dog, as well as the naked images of a female infant.
The images of the girl are believed to have been shared within the group by the grandfather.
It will be alleged one of the men was planned a meeting with the intention of engaging in sexual activity with an infant.
It’s believed a meeting was also being planned with a pre-teen girl, and that the woman was acting as an intermediary between the girl and one of the men.
Det Supt Howlett said none of the children were aware they had been targeted.
“We were monitoring their activities extremely closely and let me assure you no child has been harmed,” she said.
“The children have been interviewed and we can assure you that they’re all quite safe.”
She confirmed at least one of the arrests last year was expedited to prevent a child being harmed.
The 61-year-old man was charged with three counts of produce disseminate or possess child abuse material, and use carriage service to transmit/publish/promote child pornography.
The 50-year-old man was charged with incite sexual intercourse with child under 10 years, procure child for unlawful sexual activity, procure child under 14 years for unlawful sexual activity and two counts of use carriage service to transmit/publish/promote child pornography.
The 47-year-old man was charged with incite sexual intercourse with child under 10 years, use child under 14 years to make child abuse material, bestiality, use carriage service to transmit/publish/promote child pornography, and produce disseminate or possess child abuse material.
The 45-year-old woman was charged with conspiracy to commit sexual intercourse with child under 10 years, and bestiality.
All five are expected to face court again next month.