Victorian man charged over online grooming of child – Strike Force Trawler

A man from Victoria has been charged with alleged online grooming following an investigation by the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Investigation Unit (CEIU).

In May 2022, investigators from the CEIU’s Strike Force Trawler began engaging online with a man from Yallourn North in Victoria.

Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with the mother of a girl aged under 10 and engaged in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform on the child.

It will be further alleged that the man arranged to meet the mother and girl and had driven from Victoria for the purpose of a sexual encounter in NSW.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives arrested a 66-year-old man in Liverpool about 11.15am yesterday (Friday 24 June 2022).

The man was taken to Liverpool Police Station, where he was charged with use carriage service to procure a person under the age of 16 years for sexual activity.

He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Bail Court today (Saturday 25 June 2022).

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s Detective Chief Inspector, Chris Goddard, is urging parents to continue to speak to young people about their online engagements and the dangers associated with social media.

“With school holidays in the next couple of weeks, parents and guardians need to have regular conversations with children about how they can keep themselves safe online,” Det Ch Insp Goddard said.

“For young people, engaging with people who they do not know on any online platform can put them at risk.

“Our priority is protecting children from any type of harm, and we will always utilise every resource at our disposal to locate anyone who uses the internet for criminal activity” Det Ch Insp Goddard 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/

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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