Ballina man charged over alleged online grooming - Strike Force Trawler

Thursday, 16 November 2023 01:21:00 PM

PLEASE NOTE: NSWPF branded vision of the arrest is available via Hightail – https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/WPwbfPegFy

© State of NSW (NSW Police Force). For editorial use only. No sublicensing of any NSW Police Force supplied image or footage allowed on a standalone basis without the express written consent of NSW Police Force. NSW Police Force attribution notice and logo to be retained on all copies of supplied images or footage with the moral rights to no false attribution and of integrity in all its images and footage asserted.

Sex Crimes Squad detectives have charged a man following an investigation into online grooming in Ballina under Strike Force Trawler.

Strike Force Trawler is an ongoing investigation by Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children facilitated through the internet and related telecommunications devices.

With assistance from the Queensland Police Service, a Ballina man was identified allegedly using a social media platform to groom a teenage girl for the purpose of sexual activity.

About 6.30am today (Thursday 16 November 2023), strike force detectives executed a search warrant at a home in Ballina where they arrested a 35-year-old man.

The man was taken to Ballina Police Station where he was charged with use carriage service to groom under 16-year-old for sex, use carriage service to procure under 16-year-old for sexual activity and use carriage service to send indecent material to person under 16.

He was refused bail to appear at Ballina Local Court today.

Police will allege in court the man was planning to meet up with a young teenage girl during upcoming school holidays for the purpose of sexual activity.

As inquiries under Strike Force Trawler continue, Commander of State Crime Command’s Sex Crimes Squad Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty said parents are reminded to talk to their children about online safety.

“With school holidays approaching, this case is a good reminder for parents to talk to their children; not to threaten them, but rather to educate them about online threats,” Det Supt Doherty said.

“If your kids are online, make sure they know the risks and know how dangerous it, and to never meet up with someone they met online.

“To any kids that are worried they may have gotten in too deep in an online friendship or relationship – it’s not too late to talk to a parent, adult, or trusted carer before a situation potentially gets worse.”

Parents can find more information at ‘Think U Know’ – https://www.thinkuknow.org.au/resources-tab/parents-and-carers

Inquiries under Strike Force Trawler continue.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.