Tas school worker 'exploited children'

·2-min read

A former staff member at a Catholic school in northwest Tasmania is facing a host of child exploitation charges after allegedly contacting 29 underage girls on social media.

The 31-year-old man, who worked at Marist Regional College in Burnie in a non-teaching role, was initially charged by police in July with one count of possessing child exploitation material.

On Wednesday he was charged with more than 30 additional offences.

Police say they had spoken to "a number of young people in the north and north-west of Tasmania who reportedly received online contact from the man through fake social media accounts".

The online contact related to a total of 29 girls under the age of 18, Tasmania Police said in a statement.

"The Marist College community is shocked at the magnitude of the situation arising from the charges laid against a former college employee," principal Gregg Sharman said.

"The former employee has been fully stood down from the college, and has not been at the college since we were first advised of the investigation."

The college says 18 of the 29 children allegedly contacted by the man were students at the school.

The investigation into the man began in June after police received a report of inappropriate contact online with someone aged under 18.

Investigators searched his address in the township of Somerset in July and seized multiple electronic devices.

The man, who is expected to appear in Burnie Magistrates Court on September 14, is facing 23 charges of attempting to involve a person under the age of 18 in the production of child exploitation material.

He is also facing multiple charges of involving a person under the age of 18 years in the production of child exploitation material, possessing child exploitation material and possessing prohibited visual recordings.

"This is a trying time for our students, staff and community. I ask that we respect all involved and impacted as part of this legal process," Mr Sharman said.

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