News

Man poses as 13yo to lure children

A BLACKSTONE man has been charged after police intervened in his "very sexualised engagement" with a child on a social networking site.

Police will allege the 42-year-old man posed online as a 13-year-old girl in order to make contact with children.

He was charged on June 3 with two counts of using the internet to procure children under 16, and two counts of possessing child exploitation material.

He is currently bailed and is due to appear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on June 19.

Taskforce Argos raids detected and charged seven alleged child sex offenders across south-east Queensland last week, with the Blackstone man being among those men.

Detective Inspector Jon Rouse said the Blackstone man's case was especially worrying because it concerned a real child.

"It becomes most concerning when we see very sexualised engagement with a child, and obviously this caused a great deal of alarm for her parents," Dt Insp Rouse said.

"He was posing as a 13-year-old girl... and he had set up his social networking site with a number of photographs of the same child and, in chat on the social networking site, he progressively and aggressively switched the conversation to a sexualised context and then endeavoured to get the child to send photos of herself to him..."

"Fortunately the parents advised us of what was going on and we intervened before a meeting happened."

Dt Insp Rouse said police believed the man had "harvested open source images" of another child to build his fake online profile.

He said the man had tried to contact many other children.

"In this particular instance, the offender was targeting literally hundreds of Queensland children - spamming them, if you like, with friend requests."

Dt Insp Rouse said the Queensland Police Service was concerned by the escalation in offences originating from social networking sites.

"We are now regularly identifying and arresting people that create online accounts and pose as 11- to 13-year-old boys and girls to befriend other young children," he said.

He said the seven sets of charges, which were made from June 4 to June 9, were largely unrelated.

The other charges from the raid relate to a 27-year-old Strathpine man, a 35-year-old Sunnybank Hills Man, a 34-year-old Eagleby man, a 20-year-old Caboolture man, a 50-year-old Kingston man and a 47-year-old Marsden man.

According to Dt Insp Rouse, the seven men arrested were all childless, and some were married.

Dt Insp Rouse said the six other alleged offenders were detected by Queensland and South Australian police posing as children online, and also through referrals regarding the upload of child exploitation material from Washington DC.

Topics:  child grooming, social media, taskforce argos


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