Fifteenth man arrested in Australian alleged child sex ring

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A Newcastle man has become the 15th person arrested after police uncovered an alleged global paedophile ring, who allegedly filmed and shared in the sexual abuse of almost 50 children in Australia.

The 54-year-old was taken into custody on Friday and faces a string of charges, including possessing, soliciting and sharing child abused material. He is also charged with bestiality.    

The man will face Newcastle Local Court on Saturday. 

Police made their first arrest after tip-offs from social media companies were passed on by US authorities. 

A NSW childcare worker, a volunteer soccer coach and a disability support worker have already been arrested during Operation Arkstone since February.  

The 54-year-old (pictured) was taken into custody on Friday and faces a string of charges, including possessing, soliciting and sharing child abused material. He is also charged with bestiality 

Justin Radford - a TV library assistant for the major networks - was the first of 15 men charged with child abuse offences under the Australian Federal Police's Operation Arkstone

Justin Radford - a TV library assistant for the major networks - was the first of 15 men charged with child abuse offences under the Australian Federal Police's Operation Arkstone

Justin Radford – a TV library assistant for the major networks – was the first of 15 men charged with child abuse offences under the Australian Federal Police’s Operation Arkstone

Detectives pounced on video librarian Justin Radford, 29, after a tip off from U.S authorities who believed he had allegedly filmed himself abusing two young children. 

Material seized from the 30-year-old Wyong man’s home sparked a nine-month investigation.  

Thirteen other men were arrested from NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.

Their alleged victims were located in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia, Europe, Asia and the U.S. 

The 15 men have been accused of preying on 46 children between the ages of 16 months and 15 years to produce and upload abusive material to a range of online platforms.  

The accused are aged between 20 and 54.

‘Our investigators are leaving no stone unturned,’ AFP Detective Superintendent Ben McQuillan said in a statement.

‘They are continuing to examine every piece of evidence seized throughout Operation Arkstone to identify and arrest more alleged members of this online network of child sex offenders.’

The accused are aged between 20 and 54 (Radford pictured)

The accused are aged between 20 and 54 (Radford pictured)

 The accused are aged between 20 and 54 (Radford pictured)

Pictured: Two mobile phones seized by investigators during Operation Arkstone

Pictured: Two mobile phones seized by investigators during Operation Arkstone

Pictured: Two mobile phones seized by investigators during Operation Arkstone

Radford allegedly used a child under 14 to make child abuse material and incited a child under 16 into a sexual act, while also possessing videos of child abuse on his phone.

The alleged tattooed and spacer-disk earring wearing paedophile described himself on LinkedIn as having worked as a tape library assistant for Channel Nine since 2017.

But he was actually working for a company called NPC, a joint venture between Nine, Seven and Southern Cross Australia. He is no longer employed by NPC.

Shortly after police swooped on Radford and forensic detectives began to comb his phone, they allegedly found links to another alleged ring member in Kendall. 

Police converged on the town and arrested Timothy Luke Doyle, 27, and his partner Steven Garrad, 22.

A former childcare worker, police allege Doyle had videoed children in his care and hit him with 303 charges.

Those close to Garrad have been threatened since his arrest. 

Pictured is childcare centre worker Timothy Luke Doyle who faces a whopping 303 charges

Pictured is childcare centre worker Timothy Luke Doyle who faces a whopping 303 charges

Pictured is childcare centre worker Timothy Luke Doyle who faces a whopping 303 charges

During a court hearing for his matters last month, an application by Garrad’s family member for his name to be suppressed was refused.

‘In the evidence of [a family member], she says that people are entering her front yard,’ his solicitor Douglas Hannaway said, The Mid-North Coast News reported.

‘On five occasions, people came to her home during the night and turned the electricity off. People came into the yard and banged on the side windows.’

But despite their pleas, Magistrate Georgina Darcy ruled both Garrad and his also jailed boyfriend Doyle could be identified. 

Police have been clear that those arrests are not linked to the hunt for Australia’s most infamous missing persons case.

Detectives linked to Operation Arkstone also arrested Doyle's boyfriend Steven Garrad (right)

Detectives linked to Operation Arkstone also arrested Doyle's boyfriend Steven Garrad (right)

Detectives linked to Operation Arkstone also arrested Doyle’s boyfriend Steven Garrad (right)

Police search the home of a suspect involved in an alleged child exploitation ring in Australia

Police search the home of a suspect involved in an alleged child exploitation ring in Australia

Police search the home of a suspect involved in an alleged child exploitation ring in Australia 

Pictured: An iPad seized by Federal Police during investigations in Queensland

Pictured: An iPad seized by Federal Police during investigations in Queensland

Pictured: An iPad seized by Federal Police during investigations in Queensland

While Radford was based in NSW, they discovered he was talking to men across the country. 

Among them was a 28-year-old from Hervey Bay who was arrested in May. 

From there investigators allegedly discovered links to Grant Harden, 29, and in June this year arrested him at his western Sydney home. 

Harden, from St Clair, has been charged with offences including raping a child under the age of 10 between 2017 and 2020.

Grant Harden, 29, has been charged with sexual offences

Grant Harden, 29, has been charged with sexual offences

Grant Harden, 29, has been charged with sexual offences

He has also been charged with three counts of intentionally sexually touching a child, and charges relating to possessing and distributing child abuse material.

Court documents seen by Daily Mail Australia also allege that Harden ‘did commit an act of bestiality with an animal… two dogs’. 

Two days later, officers arrested an air conditioning mechanic, 48, allegedly known to Harden.

The hunt continued in October when a 40-year-old man from Pialba – a town only a few minutes drive from Hervey Bay – was arrested.

Jake Caldwell, 27, was then arrested in November and charged with four offences related to possessing and accessing child abuse material.

In total, 828 charges have been laid against the group.

The unnamed members include a retail assistant, supermarket employee, a chef, disability support worker, electrician and a court officer. 

AFP Assistant Commissioner Lesa Gale said at the time detectives believe they have uncovered one of the biggest domestic child exploitation networks of recent years.

She said police would allege in court that some of the nine accused men had sexually abused children known to them and recorded videos and photographs of the abuse to share with others online. 

‘We are continuing to try to identify other children who we suspect were preyed on by individuals in the alleged network,’ she said.

Police have since arrested more suspects (pictured) and laid a total of 828 criminal charges in what they believe is an online domestic paedophile network

Police have since arrested more suspects (pictured) and laid a total of 828 criminal charges in what they believe is an online domestic paedophile network

Police have since arrested more suspects (pictured) and laid a total of 828 criminal charges in what they believe is an online domestic paedophile network

Operation Arkstone has seen arrests made across Australia and also in New Zealand, Europe, Asia and the United States (pictured)

Operation Arkstone has seen arrests made across Australia and also in New Zealand, Europe, Asia and the United States (pictured)

Operation Arkstone has seen arrests made across Australia and also in New Zealand, Europe, Asia and the United States (pictured)

Pictured: Australian Federal Police officers seized a USB during their investigations

Pictured: Australian Federal Police officers seized a USB during their investigations

Pictured: Australian Federal Police officers seized a USB during their investigations 

More than 140 criminal matters have been referred back to police in Europe, Asia, Canada and New Zealand during the investigation, as well as 18 to the United States where three arrests have been made.

Australian investigators have now laid more than 800 charges and have not ruled out further arrests.

‘Our investigators are leaving no stone unturned,’ AFP Detective Superintendent Ben McQuillan said in a statement.

‘They are continuing to examine every piece of evidence seized throughout Operation Arkstone to identify and arrest more alleged members of this online network of child sex offenders.’

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