Strike Force Trawler charge four men in three weeks over online child exploitation

Police are urging parents and carers to monitor their child’s online activities after Strike Force Trawler detectives charged four men in the last three weeks over the alleged online procurement and incitement of children for sex.

In May 2019, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) began engaging online with a man from Sydney’s west.

Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with the 35-year-old mother of a nine-year-old girl and engaged in conversations about sexually-explicit acts he wished to perform on the child as well as with the mother and daughter together.

Following extensive inquiries, a 61-year-old man was arrested in Sydney’s west about 11.20am on Thursday 20 June 2019.

He was charged with incite sexual intercourse with child under the age of 10 years.

The Lethbridge Park man was refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Local Court on Friday 21 June where he was formally refused bail to re-appear at the same court on Thursday 22 August 2019.

In the second incident, detectives from the CEIU began engaging online with a man from the Sydney’s south west.

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 32-year-old man outside a business at Chullora about 1pm on Friday 21 June 2019.

Shortly after, investigators executed a search warrant at a home in Cabramatta, where they seized several electronic devices to undergo forensic examination

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

He was refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday 22 June 2019, where he was formally refused bail to re-appear at Liverpool Local Court on Wednesday 21 August 2019.

In the third incident, detectives from the CEIU began engaging online with a man from Taree.

Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 37-year-old mother of an eight-year-old girl and engaged in conversations about sexually-explicit acts he wished to perform on the child.

The man allegedly then made arrangements to meet with the woman and girl for sex.

Following extensive investigations, strike force detectives arrested a 57-year-old man at a property in Sydney’s west just after 7am on Friday 28 June 2019.

During a search of the man, investigators seized a mobile phone and a USB storage device for further forensic examination.

The man was taken to Parramatta Police Station and charged with incite to commit sexual intercourse with child under the age of 10 years, possess child abuse material, and use carriage service transmit/publish/promote child porn.

He was refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Local Court on Friday 28 June 2019, where he was formally refused bail to re-appear before the same court on Thursday 22 August 2019.

In the fourth incident, detectives from the CEIU began engaging online with a man from Sydney’s west.

Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with the 29-year-old mother of a nine-year-old girl and engaged in conversations about sexually-explicit acts he wished to perform on the child, before making arrangements to meet with the woman and girl for sex.

Following extensive inquiries, a 54-year-old man was arrested in Sydney’s west about 9am yesterday (Tuesday 9 July 2019).

He was charged with incite to commit sexual intercourse with child under the age of 10 years and use carriage service transmit/publish/promote child porn.

The Erskine Park man was refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Local Court yesterday where he was formally refused bail to re-appear at the same court on Thursday 5 September 2019.

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

“It’s 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.

“With children currently on school holidays, 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.

“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 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.

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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