Two charged following separate online grooming investigations - Strike Force Trawler

Wednesday, 15 September 2021 01:57:09 PM

Two men in the state’s north have been charged with alleged online grooming offences following separate investigations by Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Unit (CEIU).

Last month, investigators from CEIU’s Strike Force Trawler began engaging with a man from Goonellabah in the state’s north.

Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 14-year-old girl and engaged in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform on the child, as well as sent explicit materials.

It will be further alleged that the man arranged to meet the girl for the purpose of a sexual encounter.

Following inquiries, a 60-year-old man was arrested at Lennox Head just after 9am on Monday (13 September 2021).

He was taken to Ballina Police Station, where he was charged with two counts of use carriage service-procure child under 16 years for sexual activity.

The man was refused bail and appeared at Byron Bay Local Court, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at Lismore Local Court on Monday 8 November 2021.

Separately, in June, detectives began speaking with an East Lismore man, who believed he was communicating with a 14-year-old girl – allegedly engaging in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform on the child – before arranging to meet with her.

Following further inquiries, the man was arrested at a South Lismore business about 10.20am yesterday (Tuesday 14 September 2021).

A search warrant was then executed at an East Lismore address, where detectives seized an electronic device, which will undergo further forensic examination.

The 62-year-old man was taken to Lismore Police Station, where he was charged with use carriage service to groom under 16 years for sex.

He was refused bail and appeared at Lismore Local Court, where he was granted conditional bail to reappear at the same court on Thursday 11 November 2021.

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said the arrests should serve as a warning for guardians of young children.

“Police will allege both these men believed they could engage in sexual activity with a young child,” Det Supt Doherty said.

“Parents and guardians should be aware of what their children are doing on the internet and who they are speaking with. They should never arrange to meet with someone they have met online.

“Make sure your children feel comfortable speaking up about anything they have done online.”

Information and educational packages for parents and children are available from ThinkUKnow, a multi-agency program designed to educate and promote cyber safety: https://www.thinkuknow.org.au/

The Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate matters against children and adults, including sexual assault, serious physical abuse, and extreme cases of neglect.

Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

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