Detectives from Argos have charged a 30-year-old man with child sex offences as part of an investigation into the use of social media accounts to groom children.
Following an extensive investigation and forensic examination of equipment seized during the execution of search warrant in the Springfield area in March, the man was arrested yesterday at the Brisbane International Airport returning from overseas, after being stopped by Australian Border Force officers.
Police will allege the man posed as a 14-year-old boy to engage multiple female children to provide child exploitation material, with attempts to meet at least one child for sexual intercourse.
The man was charged with possess child exploitation material, groom child under 16 to engage in sexual act, use internet to procure child under 16 – intentionally meeting child and two counts of grooming child under 16 – expose to indecent matter. He was remanded in custody and is expected to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today.
Detective Inspector Glen Donaldson of Argos said parents and caregivers need to have conversations with children about unsafe practices such as engaging with strangers online and sending intimate images of themselves.
“Research by the Commonwealth eSafety Commissioner has identified that 1 in 4 children have been approached by a stranger online.
“Often these strangers assume false identities of other children and use convincing social engineering strategies to convince children to take intimate photographs and videos of themselves. Once these images are shared with the offender, they cannot be removed.
“Supervision is the key to prevention, as is ongoing communication with children about how to stay safe online and the dangers of having online ‘friends’ they have never met face-to-face.
“Parents seeking support in educating themselves about online safety are urged to visit the fantastic resources of the eSafety Commissioner. These resources help parents start the conversation about online safety and what children can do when they feel unsafe and how to make the right decisions about their digital footprint.
“To those offenders who seek to engage with children to satisfy their sexual needs, be aware that every day Argos has undercover officers working in a range of online platforms and the next ‘child’ that you speak with may be an undercover police officer”, Detective Inspector Donaldson said.