Man in court over online grooming – Strike Force Trawler

A man will appear in court today charged over the alleged online grooming of a child in the state’s Hunter region.

In December 2019, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) began engaging online with a man 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 conversations about sexually-explicit acts he wished to perform on the child.

Following extensive investigations, strike force detectives arrested a 23-year-old man at a home near Newcastle about 9.30am yesterday (Wednesday 22 January 2020).

Shortly after, a search warrant was executed at the home, where detectives seized a mobile phone and documents.

The man was taken to Waratah Police Station and charged with use carriage service to groom person under 16 years for sex.

He was refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court today (Thursday 23 January 2020).

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Chris Goddard, said all parents need to speak with their children regularly about online safety.

“With school holidays about to end, it’s a timely reminder to keep an eye on how much time your child is spending on the internet, what websites they are visiting, and who they may be speaking with,” Det A/Supt Goddard said.

“Not only should young people be very careful about providing personal information details to a person they only know in an online environment, they should never organise to meet as doing so may place them at further risk of harm.

“If they encounter something or someone they are not comfortable with, we encourage them to speak to someone they trust, who can then let our investigators know,” Det A/Supt Goddard said.

More 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/

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.

Anyone with information about internet predators should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

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

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