The identity of a childcare worker accused of being one of Australia’s worst sex offenders has been revealed as 45-year-old Ashley Paul Griffith.
The Gold Coast man is accused of raping and abusing 91 girls at various childcare centres in Queensland, New South Wales and overseas locations.
The alleged crimes took place over a 15-year period.
Mr Griffith has been charged with more than 1600 offences including rape, indecent treatment of children and making and possessing child exploitation material, the Courier Mail reports.
He is facing 136 counts of rape, 604 charges of indecent treatment of a child and 613 counts of making child exploitation material in Queensland alone.
Police will allege videos and photographs produced by Griffith were first spotted on a dark web platform by investigators in 2014.
However, it wasn’t until August 2022 that objects in the background of the videos and photographs were traced back to a Brisbane childcare centre by the Australian Federal Police.
Mr Griffith was arrested in August last year and charged with making and distributing child abuse material.
Following his arrest, he was met with hundreds of additional charges after law enforcement officers examined thousands of images allegedly found on his phone and other electronic devices.
The alleged offences occurred in Brisbane between 2007 to 2013, 2018 to 2022, in Europe in 2013 and 2014, and at one centre in Sydney between 2014 and 2017.
The AFP has stated that it is “highly confident” that 87 children have been identified, and their families have been informed of the investigation.
Griffith‘s charges will be mentioned in court again on November 6.
The AFP has assured the public that if they have not been contacted by law enforcement, it is extremely unlikely that their child was allegedly offended against.
“The AFP is highly confident that all the Australian children who were recorded in the alleged child-abuse material have been identified,” AFP Assistant Commissioner Justine Gough said.
“This is a distressing time for families, carers and the community broadly.”
Griffith previously worked as a director of a childcare centre in Brisbane’s northern suburbs.
In a since-deleted staff profile, Griffith said he was a “firm believer in play-based learning”.
“I love engaging children in meaningful experiences that inspire their play and learning,” he said.
“Young children are natural inquirers, exploring the world through their senses, seeking answers and building theories. As an Early Childhood Teacher I hope to share this journey, learning side-by-side children and inspiring them.”
In June 2023, NSWPF laid charges for alleged offending against 23 children.
The charges include.
68 counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10 contrary to section 66A(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment;
42 counts of aggravated sexual intercourse with a child under 10 under authority contrary to section 66A(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment;
69 counts of aggravated indecent assault contrary to section 61M(2) of Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment; and
One count of producing child abuse material contrary to section 91H(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.
In July 2023, the AFP laid further charges against the man for the alleged offending against 64 children in Queensland and four children overseas.
The charges include:
136 counts of rape contrary to section 349 of the Criminal Code 1899 (QLD), which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment;
604 counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 contrary to section 210 of the Criminal Code 1899 (QLD), which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment;
613 counts of making child exploitation material, contrary to section 228B of the Criminal Code 1899 (QLD), which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment;
83 counts of possessing, controlling, producing, distributing or obtaining child pornography material outside Australia, contrary to section 273.5 of the Criminal Code (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment;
One count of possessing, controlling, distributing or obtaining child pornography material contrary to section 474.19 of the Criminal Code (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment; and
Six counts of possessing child exploitation material, contrary to section 228D of the Criminal Code (QLD), which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment.
More to come.