A man has been arrested and charged with child sex offences following a joint investigation involving Mackay Child Protection Investigation Unit, Moranbah Criminal Investigation Branch and Argos.
The investigation commenced on November 8 when the man allegedly engaged in an online conversation about sexual acts children with a person he believed to be a mother of a 12-year-old girl, who was in fact an undercover officer from Argos.
During the conversation the man allegedly made plans with the officer to travel to Brisbane to meet and engage in sexual acts with a 12-year-old child.
A search warrant was subsequently executed at the man’s accommodation in Dysart on November 11 and a number of items seized, including a phone allegedly detailing communications between the officer and the man.
A further search warrant was executed at the man’s home in Clermont on November 12 where another device was located and examined which allegedly contained Child Exploitation Material (CEM).
The 31-year-old Clermont man was charged with using the internet to procure a child under 16 years and possessing child exploitation material and is due to appear in the Mackay Magistrates Court today (November 14).
Detective Senior Sergeant Emma Novosel of Mackay CPIU said the case highlights the ever-present risk children can face from online predators and the key role parents and caregivers play in teaching children about online safety.
“Research by the Commonwealth eSafety Commissioner has identified that one in four children have been approached by a stranger online,” Detective Senior Sergeant Novosel said.
“The research also shows that over 90 percent of teens regularly use internet connected devices – which highlights the need for parents to be aware of their child’s online footprint and to speak with them about online safety,” she said.
“Supervision is key to prevention, as is ongoing communication with children about how to stay safe online and the dangers of having online ‘friends’ they have never met face-to-face”.
“Every day Argos has undercover officers working in a range of online platforms to detect and apprehend people who seek to exploit children in our community.
“To those that seek to engage in this predatory behaviour, just remember that the next ‘child’ that you message may be a police officer.”