BERLIN — A court in western Germany on Tuesday sentenced a 43-year-old man at the center of a large child sexual abuse network to 12 years imprisonment.

The regional court in Cologne convicted the defendant, identified only as Joerg L. for privacy reasons, of repeatedly raping his daughter, who was born in 2017.

Investigators searching his premises in the town of Bergisch Gladbach last year found large numbers of photos and videos showing him committing abuse. The material led them to an online network of men with whom the defendant had been sharing images.

Authorities have since uncovered evidence implicating thousands of people across Germany in the abuse and more than 100 have already been identified. Dozens of children have been removed from environments where they were suffering abuse.

The German government recently announced it would toughen laws against child sex abuse and those making or distributing child abuse images.