Queensland man charged with online grooming of children

Fri 16-09-2022 08:34 am AEST

A Queensland man has been charged by AFP Child Protection officers with offences relating to the alleged grooming of children online for sexual activity.

The Ferny Grove man, 57, is expected to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court today (16 September 2022).

The investigation began in April 2022 when the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report from the Royal Canadian Mounted police about a Snapchat user engaging with children under the age of 16 in Canada.

AFP investigators allegedly linked the Ferny Grove man to the illegal online activity.

A search warrant was executed at the man's home on 21 June, 2022, with investigators seizing a mobile telephone. The device will now be subject to further forensic examination.

AFP Detective Acting Sergeant Nicole Watkins said parents need to understand how predators abuse technology to try and invite themselves into the bedrooms of our children.

“Please talk to children about what platforms, apps and games they are using and remind them never to reveal personal information to any friends they met online,’’ she said.

"Supervision is not only critical to helping prevent an incident happening but can also help adults to quickly take action if they need to alert law enforcement.

"If your child has been targeted, reassure them that it's not their fault and there is help available - children and young people are never to blame for being a victim of online child sexual exploitation."

The man was charged with:

  • Three counts of grooming a child to engage in sexual activity outside of Australia contrary to section 272.15(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and;
  • Two counts of procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside Australia, contrary to section 272.14(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

The maximum penalty for these offences is 15 years' imprisonment.

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the ACCCE is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety.

An award-winning podcast launched last year by the ACCCE 'Closing The Net' is working to change that, showcasing that knowledge is power and that our only chance to help prevent this issue is if we bring a 'whole-of-community' response.

The podcast series offers valuable tips and advice on how to keep kids safe online. Listen to the Closing The Net podcast on your favourite streaming platform.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

Note to media:


The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

Use of the phrase "child pornography" is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.

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