Computer Crime Research Center


Huge child-porn library seized

Date: October 07, 2004
By: Andrea Mayes and Jennifer Sexton

POLICE believe they have seized the country's biggest child pornography library after 350,000 images of young girls were allegedly discovered at the suburban home of a Perth computer technician.

Raymond John Belcher, 36, is alleged to have also amassed a collection of 6400 pornographic short videos of underage girls on a series of hard drives stored at his home in the northern Perth suburb of Woodvale.

Detectives from Operation Auxin, which has netted more than 200 men in a nationwide sting against child pornography, confronted Mr Belcher at Perth international airport on Tuesday night as he arrived home from a European holiday.

Also yesterday, a second Catholic school teacher in Victoria -- a 34-year veteran of the Victorian Catholic school system -- was suspended, and a cleaner at a Melbourne secondary college was charged with child pornography offences.

In Sydney, Operation Auxin police yesterday searched the home of a 39-year-old man believed to be a teacher at the exclusive eastern suburbs school Scots College.

A 55-year-old man from Albury in NSW may be the fifth suicide of a person questioned over child pornography.

Mr Belcher was overseas when police searched his home and allegedly discovered the massive haul of child pornography on September 29.

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It is by far the largest number of images so far seized as part the nationwide swoop, which has uncovered more than 2 million pornographic images of children.

WA child abuse investigation unit Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Warner said there was no suggestion Mr Belcher had filmed the girls, all aged under 16..

"It's an extremely large number of images and the investigation is very preliminary at this stage," he said. "This whole investigation is far from being finished."

Mr Belcher was not required to enter a plea when he appeared in Perth Magistrates Court yesterday charged with possessing child pornography.

Barefoot and wearing jeans and a dark blue shirt, the self-employed computer expert spoke only to confirm his name. He did not acknowledge members of his family, who were seated in the public gallery, but stared at the floor for much of his brief appearance. Mr Belcher was released on $10,000 bail with a $10,000 surety.

Pressure on police to nail suspects intensified yesterday after Scots College was named in a Sydney newspaper as employing a person under investigation whose home was yet to be searched.

After failing more than one week ago to secure a search warrant, police returned to Redfern Local Court yesterday and secured a warrant, raiding a unit in Redfern in the man's absence and seizing several items.

Scots acting principal Andrew Watts said police had refused to answer questions about the suspect.

"We have absolutely no idea of who that person might be," Mr Watts said yesterday.

Southwest of Melbourne, the principal of 14 years at St Therese Catholic primary school in coastal Torquay was stood down yesterday pending a police investigation into allegations he accessed child pornography on the internet.

Terry Wescott is the second Catholic teacher this week to be suspended. Lachlan Wallin, a 26-year-old teacher at St Simon's Catholic Primary School in Rowville, southeast Melbourne, was stood down on Monday. Neither man has been charged.

A contract cleaner, employed at Karingal Park Secondary College in Melbourne's south, was charged with child pornography offences yesterday, and immediately removed from the school's premises, the Department of Education said in a statement.

The body of an Albury man was found on Monday in the garage of his home in the eastern suburbs of the NSW town bordering Victoria. Albury police would not confirm whether he had been questioned or his house searched under Operation Auxin.

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