The harrowing details of a child sex slave ring involving a 13-year-old girl, eight men (one of them the girl's father, another a Christian pastor) has shocked senior police detectives and horrified Australians.
Senior detective Glenn Feeney hosted an emotional press conference yesterday, outlining how the girl had been repeatedly raped, given alcohol and drugs to "stupify" her and filmed over the course of two years.
"Operation Ripstop involved the arrest of eight males between the ages of 35 and 47. They've been charged with a total of 503 charges," said Feeney.
Police then handed out the charge sheet for the men which showed the hundreds of charges and the long list of each men's alleged crimes against the girl.
"These charges include sexual penetration of a child under 13 years, indecently dealing with a child under 13 years, indecently recording a child under 13 years, distribution of child exploitation material, stupefying with intent to commit an indictable offense and sexual servitude of a child," he said.
Police said the girl's father (who could not be named because it could be used to identify the victim) organised the ring and had a friendship with the men - all who had jobs where they did not work with children.
"Just to give an idea of the scale from one of the person charged there were 200,000 videos and 4 million photos," he said.
Seven of the men have been named by police and made an initial their first appearances in court.
- The girl's father, 228 offences.
- Nicholas Beer, 163 offences.
- Ryan Clegg, 61 offences.
- Benjamin Clarke, 15 offences
- David Vollmer, 12 offences
- Troy Milbourne, 10 offences
- Mark Liggins, 10 offences
- Alfred Impicciatore, 4 offences
One of the men involved, David Volmer is a Christian pastor and former state manager of the Prison Fellowship Western Australia, according to ABC News. He has already pleaded guilty to having sex and "stupefying" the 13-year-old.
The South African-based Acts Christian Church released a statement on its website regarding David Volmer (also known as Dawid), who was a pastor in its congregation.
"We are shocked by the criminal charges against Pastor Dawid Volmer and cannot make any excuses for a minister of the gospel who should have known better," wrote Reverend Peter de Fin.
"These allegations to which Pastor Volmer has confessed, are a betrayal of the trust that people place in a minister of the church. We offer no excuses for such disgraceful behaviour."
According to police the girl is "physically" unharmed but when asked by journalists, Detective Feeney replied, "psychologically, I can't answer."
He would also not comment about whether the mother knew of the abuse committed against the girl.
"She is safe and she is receiving the care that she needs, and that will continue."
Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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