Police are urging parents and guardians to monitor their child’s online activities after Strike Force Trawler detectives charged two men over the alleged online procurement of children for sex this week, NSW Police say.
In November 2018, 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 a 13-year-old girl and engaged in conversations about sexual acts he wished to perform on the child before making arrangements to meet with the child for sex.
Following inquiries, a 64-year-old man was arrested by strike force detectives near Westmead Railway Station about 9.30am on Tuesday (18 December 2018).
Shortly after the arrest, a search warrant was executed at a Wentworthville home, where investigators seized a computer, mobile phones and USB drives.
The man was taken to Parramatta Police Station and charged with using a carriage service to procure persons under 16 years of age.
He was refused bail and appeared before Parramatta Local Court yesterday (Wednesday 19 December 2018), where he was formally refused bail to appear before the same court on Tuesday 12 February 2019.
In a separate incident, on Friday 7 December 2018, Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad detectives began engaging online with a man from the Central Coast.
Following further inquiries, detectives arrested the man, aged 57, outside a fast food restaurant on The Entrance Road, Bateau Bay, about 11.15am yesterday.
Following his arrest, officers executed a search warrant at a unit in Bateau Bay, where they seized several items, including a computer, a mobile phone, USB drives, and an amount of a prohibited drug.
He was taken to Wyong Police Station, where he was charged with groom child for unlawful sexual activity, use carriage service to procure under 16 years for sexual activity, use carriage service to menace/harass/offend, and possess prohibited drug.
Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 14-year-old girl and engaged in sexually explicit conversations before making arrangements to meet with the child for sex.
It will also be alleged that the man approached a 14-year-old girl at a shopping centre at Bateau Bay on Friday 14 December 2018, and later sent sexually inappropriate material to the child’s mobile phone.
He was refused bail and is due to appear at Wyong Local Court today (Thursday 20 December 2018).
Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, said it was crucial that parents and guardians communicated with children on how to keep themselves safe online.
“It’s important to have a talk with your child to safeguard them from unsavoury people who would do them harm,” Det Supt Kerlatec said.
“With the school holidays upon us, it’s a timely reminder to keep an eye on what websites your child is visiting and who they may be speaking with.
“Children should only make contact online with people they already know and whom you trust. While online, people can pose as anyone and of any age.
“Children also need to be very careful with how much information they give and what details they provide to people they’ve only met in the online environment.
“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.”
Investigations are continuing.
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.