AN ARMIDALE mother has been denied bail, accused of offering a child to strangers to be sexually abused.
The 35-year-old woman was arrested by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in Armidale on Thursday, after they raided her home. She cannot be identified to protect the identity of the young child allegedly involved.
The woman appeared in Armidale Local Court on Friday morning on charges of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material; and producing child abuse material for use through a carriage service.
She was not required to enter pleas to the charges, which were adjourned to next month.
The woman made no bid for bail and it was formally refused by magistrate Michael Holmes who ordered she be taken to a women's prison as soon as possible.
He's ordered police to compile the brief of evidence, with the case referred to the Commonwealth DPP.
The AFP were tipped off about the woman's alleged activities after allegations she was using an international encrypted messaging service to share child abuse material of a child known to her. She was also alleged to have been offering the child to strangers for sex abuse, the AFP claims.
Investigations by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) homed in on the 35-year-old Armidale woman as the alleged user of the encrypted messaging service.
Police then raided the home on Thursday, and during the search warrant, officers seized several items including an electronic device which they said would be forensically examined as part of ongoing investigations.
The AFP confirmed the child is now in the care of family members.
If found guilty of the offences, the woman faces a maximum of 15 years' imprisonment.
AFP Acting Commander of the ACCCE and Child Protection Operations, Paula Hudson, said despite the coronavirus crisis, authorities were still focused on "combating child exploitation".
"Even now as our society grapples with this health crisis, this is a warning to would-be offenders that we are still active and we will still catch you," she said.
"Our officers are still working diligently to identify and prosecute those who prey on our children. Our work to put a stop to the sexual exploitation of children, be it online or physical abuse, will not stop for anything."