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NSW police email child abuse pics to school heads

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New South Wales police have apologised after accidentally sending images of child abuse to school heads in the Australian state. Pictures of three girls believed to be at risk were emailed to 1,800 state schools but "software used to crop images left the full pictures embedded in the file", AP reports.

Eighty per cent of school heads had opened the messages, forwarded by the education department on behalf of the police, and most got no further than seeing the intended head shots. But five schools chiefs complained they were able to see the full images, which depicted instances of sexual abuse.

State Crime Command Assistant Commissioner Graeme Morgan described the incident as "unfortunate and regrettable". An investigation has been launched into the blunder. Assistant Commissioner Morgan said: "Immediate steps were taken to recall all unopened emails and police have disseminated an urgent request that all unopened files be deleted and any images printed destroyed."

Meanwhile the identity of the abused girls remains a mystery. A 30 year-old man from Cessnock, NSW, charged with possession of indecent photos of the girls is due back in court on 15 December, AP reports. ®

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