A man in Western Australia has been charged with more than 400 sexual offenses against children in what police are calling one of the most significant child abuse investigations in the state’s history.
The 47-year-old from Perth faces 240 counts of indecent dealing with a child under 13, 98 counts of indecently recording a child under 13, and 44 counts of sexual penetration of a child under 13, Western Australia police said in a statement Wednesday.
He also faces 26 counts of possessing – and five counts of producing – child exploitation material.
The charges follow a months-long investigation sparked by a tip off in July last year.
Searches were carried out at the man’s home and workplace, during which multiple electronic storage devices were seized, police said.
After a digital forensic examination, authorities identified approximately 3.8 million images and videos considered child exploitation material.
The police said detectives identified 24 boys and girls who had been sexually abused. The abuse allegedly took place between 2015 and 2021.
“This investigation is one of the most significant child abuse investigations ever conducted in Western Australia in so far as how many images were located and how many victims we will allege have been abused,” Detective Inspector Hamish McKenzie said, according to CNN affiliate 9 News.
The 9 News report said the children were aged between ages 3 and 13 – and police believe the victims were known to the man through family and friends.
The man is due to appear later this month in the Perth Magistrates Court.