A Gymea Bay man received 352 videos and images, some constituting child abuse material, from a 13-year-old schoolgirl in the Philippines over six months, a court has heard.
Jonathan Doig, 57, was also alleged to have made 1780 payments totalling $129,224 to about 97 separate beneficiaries in the Philippines over 10 years.
Mr Doig, a software engineer, is a well-known environmental activist in Sutherland Shire and has been a candidate for the Greens in federal, state and council elections.
He stood against Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the 2019 election.
Mr Doig was charged by Australian Federal Police with procuring and soliciting a child outside Australia to engage in sexual activity and possessing child abuse material accessed through a carriage service.
Two of the offences carry maximum jail terms of 15 years and the other 10 years.
Mr Doig was granted bail on strict conditions in Central Local Court on Wednesday despite objections from the prosecution that he might endanger the safety of victims and was a flight risk.
His barrister Gregory Stanton said Doig's wife was prepared to have him return to the matrimonial home, where they live with their 16-year-old daughter, and would ensure he abided by bail conditions.
Mr Stanton said it could be two years before a trial could be held.
Prosecutor Sandra Lo said the case against Mr Doig was "strong" and further charges were expected to follow in relation to other children.
It was alleged, between December 19 2019 and June 2020, Mr Doig talked daily with a child of 13 years and received 352 images, some constituting child abuse material, she said.
The prosecutor said there was "evidence which clearly substantiates the age of the victim as being 13".
"He receives a school report where she is aged 13 years and that's accompanied by four images of what police allege is a school uniform," Ms Lo said.
There were additional images of the girl in school uniform.
"I understand that a further review today by AFP has revealed a further five chats with young girls believed to be under age and those chats ranged on average for a duration of two years," she said.
"It appears they were almost daily and there were associated material and images that were exchanged.
"There are a further two devices which need to be inspected and I understand there is a level of encryption and one appears to be his personal laptop.
"So, it is anticipated there will be further victims."
The prosecutor said evidence included a report "which identifies high volume, low value transactions made by the accused for about 97 separate beneficiaries located in the Philippines over the course of about 10 years - from October 2010 to May 2020 - totalling $129,224 over 1780 separate transactions."
"Given the nature of the allegations before the court, the prosecution submits there is an irresistible inference that the applicant has an ongoing sexual interest in children and, further, that he has a tendency to act on such an interest," the prosecutor said.
Magistrate Margaret Quinn said the allegations were "abhorrent" but not in the most serious category.
Ms Quinn granted bail on strict conditions, including Mr Doig not have contact with any child 16 or under, with the exception of his daughter, not "loiter" near schools or childcare centres, report to police three times a week and surrender his passport.
He is due to appear again at Downing Centre Local Court on August 4.
A Gymea Bay man, 57, has been charged with allegedly paying to direct and view the live abuse of a child in the Philippines online.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested the man and searched his home on Tuesday.
An AFP statement said financial intelligence provided by AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) revealed details of a payment from a NSW resident to a known child exploitation facilitator in the Philippines.
"The NSW Child Protection Operations Team launched an investigation based on this information and executed a search warrant the man's home in Sydney yesterday (Tuesday).
"During the search, police seized a number of electronic devices including mobile phone, two laptops and a hard drive. Forensic examination of the devices is ongoing.
"The man is expected to appear in Central Local Court today, charged with:
- Procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside Australia, contrary to section 272.14 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). This offence carries a maximum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment.
- Using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). This offence carries a maximum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment.
- Possessing child abuse material obtained or accessed through a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(A) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). This offence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment.
"AUSTRAC's intelligence analysts are experts in analysing and detecting financial transactions indicative of crimes including child exploitation and have an important role in combating child sexual exploitation.
"AUSTRAC's public-private partnership, the Fintel Alliance, released a financial indicators report to help the financial services sector to identify and report suspicious activities to combat the sexual exploitation of children for financial gain.
"Anyone with information about suspected online child abuse can alert the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report."