News

Echuca man facing 610 child abuse charges to stand trial

By Ivy Jensen

AN Echuca man charged with more than 600 sexual offences against children as part of a global operation will stand trial.

The 61-year-old, who the Riverine Herald has chosen not to name to protect his victims, appeared in Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, July 29.

Magistrate Megan Aumair directed the matter for trial at Bendigo County Court on September 3.

The man, who is in custody, pleaded not guilty. He is facing 615 state and federal offences, including:

● 174 counts of production of child pornography;

● 140 counts of producing child abuse material;

● 85 counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 16;

● 70 counts of indecent act with a child under 16 years;

● 43 counts of sexual assault by compelling sexual touching;

Australian law enforcement and the United States Homeland Security Investigations during Operation Walwa.

● 36 counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and sexual penetration of a child under 12 years;

● 15 counts of sexual activity in the presence of a child under 16;

● 13 counts of use carriage service to access child pornography material and contravene certain conduct conditions;

● nine counts of produce child abuse material for use through a carriage service;

● seven counts of rape by compelling sexual penetration; and

● single counts of procure a child under 16 for sexual penetration or indecent act; encouraging a child under the age of 16 to engage in, or be involved in sexual activity; involving a child in the production of child abuse material; procurement of minor for child pornography; possess child abuse material; and use carriage service to cause offence.

The man is one of 16 people in Australia charged as part of a two-year effort by Australian law enforcement and the United States Homeland Security Investigations.

Australian investigators executed 18 search warrants and arrested 16 people on 738 child exploitation charges and removed four Australian children, one of whom was from Victoria, from further harm.

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