Police charge man over online procurement during Child Protection Week

Police are urging parents and carers to monitor their child’s online activities after Strike Force Trawler detectives charged a man over the alleged online procurement of a teenage girl for sex during National Child Protection Week.

In August 2019, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) were notified of an online communication between a man from Sydney’s west and a 14-year-old girl.

As part of their inquiries, detectives began engaging online with the man.

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 inquiries, a 47-year-old man was arrested by Strike Force Trawler at a shopping centre at Penrith about 4pm yesterday (Thursday 5 September 2019). Officers seized the man’s mobile phone.

The Werrington man was taken to Penrith Police Station and charged with use carriage service to procure under 16 years of age for sexual activity.

He was refused bail to appear at Penrith Local Court today (Friday 6 September 2019).

Following the arrest, detectives executed a search warrant at a home in Werrington. No further items were seized.

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, urged parents and carers to speak with their children regularly about online safety.

“It is important to speak to your child about the dangers associated with online conversations and know what your child is doing online,” Det Supt Kerlatec said.

“This arrest is a timely reminder for all parents as it falls within National Child Protection Week. 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.

“In this instance police have been notified by the teenager’s parents, so we encourage all parents to talk to their kids about their activities online.

“If they ever encounter something or someone they are not comfortable with, they can speak to an adult they trust and who can let our investigators know,” Det Supt Kerlatec 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.

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.

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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