Police charge man with grooming and child abuse offences – Hornsby

A man has been charged with multiple grooming and sexual assault offences following an investigation by the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad.

Earlier this month, police received reports that a 36-year-old man had met a 13-year-old girl for multiple sexual encounters after connecting with her through social media.

The matter was referred to the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad, who commenced an investigation.

Following extensive inquiries, detectives stopped a vehicle in the Hornsby CBD and arrested the passenger, a 36-year-old man from Mount Colah, about 3.40pm yesterday (Monday 10 August 2020).

During the arrest, a mobile phone in the man’s possession was seized by detectives.

He was taken to Hornsby Police Station and charged with three counts of groom child under 14 years for unlawful sexual activity, three counts of intentionally sexually touch child (between 10 and 14 years), two counts of possess child abuse material, Have sexual intercourse with child (between 10 and 14 years), meet child under 14 groomed for sexual activity, use carriage service to send indecent material to person under 16 and administer/attempt administer prohibited drug to another.

Police will allege in court that the man groomed the girl through social media before sexually abusing her on multiple occasions.

He was refused bail to appear at Hornsby Local Court today (Tuesday 11 August 2020).

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, is urging parents to have conversations with their children about the risks of connecting online with people they don’t know.

“Social media is wonderful tool to stay connected with friends and loved ones, but the platforms also provide opportunities for those not known to us to initiate communication – and this includes strangers talking to our children,” Det Supt Kerlatec said.

“It is so important that we remind children, that meeting with people they have only communicated with in an online environment, puts them at extreme risk.

“We know the online environment is used by sexual predators to target children, so it is imperative that all young people know what to do if they are exposed to explicit or inappropriate conversations.

“Reporting these types of conversations is uncomfortable, particularly for young people, so I urge parents and carers to make sure kids know that they don’t need to be embarrassed or upset.

“As police our priority is protecting children from any type of harm, and we will track down anyone who uses the internet to groom and/or procure children for sex.

“Finally, I want to remind everyone to be careful about providing personal details on social media, especially to someone they only know online, and take extreme caution if making plans to meet up – consider whether you really know who it is you are meeting,” Det Supt Kerlatec said.

More information can be accessed via the eSafety website: https://www.esafety.gov.au/

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.

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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