A senior South Australian Labor staffer has been charged with child abuse related offences.
Senior media advisor Ben Waters was stood down from the Labor Party today and this afternoon faced court for a string of child abuse related offences.
He was one of two men arrested yesterday after an investigation into a 39-year-old who police allege had been having online conversations about the sexual abuse of children.
Labor MP Nat Cook said Mr Waters was expelled from the Labor after receiving advice from police about his arrest.
“I was shocked when learning of these charges,” the Member for Hurtle Vale said in a statement.
“Naturally, my office has fully cooperated with Australian Federal Police and South Australia Police investigation and will continue to do so.
“As soon as I was made aware of the charges, I took immediate action and advised the Department of Treasury and Finance and requested that his employment be immediately terminated and that all access to buildings and IT be blocked.
“I also advised the Labor Party who I understand held an emergency State Executive meeting this morning and have expelled this person as a member.
“As this matter is now before the court, I am unable to make any further comment.”
Police allegedly found a large amount of child abuse material on a USB device when they searched Mr Waters’ home.
He’s been charged with procuring child abuse material, two counts of aggravated possession of child exploitation material and two counts of possession of child exploitation material.
AFP Detective Superintendent Gail McClure said the joint investigation was a part of a push to “protect children, wherever they live”.
“The offences relating to child exploitation are significant and seriously damaging to victims and the community as a whole, as a result of the traumatic physical and emotional scars inflicted by the abuse,” he said.
“Our community must tackle the question of child exploitation head-on and collectively find an answer to it.”