Man charged by Strike Force Trawler detectives over online grooming

A man will appear in court today charged by Strike Force Trawler detectives following an investigation into alleged online grooming on the state’s Mid North Coast.

In November last year, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) began engaging online with a man from Port Macquarie.

Police will allege in court that the person believed they were speaking with a 14-year-old girl and engaged in conversations about sexually explicit acts they wished to perform on the child.

It will be further alleged the man made arrangements to meet the girl for sex.

Following extensive investigations, strike force detectives arrested a 57-year-old man at a beach in Port Macquarie on Wednesday 7 October 2020.

Investigators, with assistance from officers attached to Mid North Coast Child Abuse Unit and Mid North Coast Police District, executed a search warrant at a home nearby and seized electronic devices which will undergo further examination.

The man was taken to Port Macquarie Police Station and charged with use carriage service to procure child under 16 years for sexual activity, use carriage service to solicit child abuse material and possess/control child abuse material using carriage service.

He was refused bail and appeared before Port Macquarie Local Court on Wednesday 7 October 2020, where he was formally refused bail to reappear before the same court today (Wednesday 21 October 2020).

Strike Force Trawler is an ongoing investigation by the CEIU into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children facilitated through the internet and related telecommunications devices.

Regular covert online investigations are conducted by the CEIU; and police in NSW work closely with their law-enforcement colleagues interstate and overseas.

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:

Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. People should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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