Senior Rugby Australia executive sacked over child abuse charges

·2-min read
Rugby Australia headquarters, pictured here in Sydney.
A general view of Rugby Australia headquarters in Sydney. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

A senior Rugby Australia executive has been charged with soliciting child abuse material as part of a federal police investigation into online exploitation and abuse.

The 41-year-old Surry Hills man was arrested on Friday with Australian Federal Police officers seizing his laptop and mobile phone, which allegedly contained videos of young children being sexually abused.

AFP child protection investigators and digital forensics specialists are expected to allege they found instant message conversations on the man's phone about the abuse of children.

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The messages are also said to detail payment for a person overseas to produce child abuse material under instruction from the man.

He is facing four charges including using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material, possessing or controlling child abuse material and transmitting child abuse material.

The man faced Parramatta Local Court on Saturday and was refused bail. He will next face court on November 10.

The maximum penalty for each offence is 15 years in prison.

AAP understands the accused man was a senior executive with Rugby Australia and that his role was largely administrative and not based in the community.

The Australian Federal Police badge, pictured here at a press conference.
A file photo of the Australian Federal Police badge. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Executive sacked by Rugby Australia

Rugby Australia has sacked him, effective immediately.

"Rugby Australia has been made aware that the AFP has charged an RA employee with criminal offences," an RA spokesman said.

"The RA board met and resolved to terminate the individual's employment effective immediately.

"RA takes all matters relating to the behaviour of its employees very seriously. RA has high standards of conduct and behaviour, to ensure that we reflect and protect the diversity of the communities that we are a part of."

The AFP has been investigating an online network of alleged child sex offenders who have been producing and sharing material on social media.

Since its operation began in February 2020, 21 people have been arrested in Australia and are facing 1301 child exploitation and bestiality charges.

The AFP said 55 child victims have been identified and 11 animals removed from harm.

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