The man was arrested this morning when he attended a Taringa fast food business to meet what he believed to be, a 15-year-old girl. He was instead met with detectives from Argos.
The investigation began on 11 January 2021 after a referral from Western Australia Police who received intelligence the man was engaged in inappropriate behaviour with underage females online.
The offender has made contact with an undercover officer from Argos posing as a 15-year-old child on a social media application, engaging in behaviour that will be alleged constitutes the grooming of a child.
It will be alleged that the man travelled from Mt Isa to Brisbane to engage in sexual acts with a female he believed to be a child.
The 20-year-old man was charged with using the internet to procure a child under 16 years of age with a circumstance of aggravation that the offender went to a place with the intention of meeting the child and four counts of grooming a child under 16 years.
The man has been released on bail and is due to appear at the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday 16 March.
Detective Inspector Glen Donaldson of Argos said this case highlights the risk posed to children by online predators and urged parents and caregivers to take active and ongoing measures around online safety.
“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,” Detective Inspector Donaldson said.
“The Queensland Police Service remains committed to working with its partner agencies to target offenders involved in the sexual exploitation of children, and the referral from Western Australia Police highlights the excellent working relationship that the QPS has with interstate agencies.
“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 engage may be a member of Argos.”
Resources and advice
- eSafety Commissioner a key partner of the QPS in enhancing online safety, with a comprehensive suite of information, resources and reporting tools to ensure children have a safe experience online.
- Who’s chatting to your kids? Further QPS advice and information about reducing online risks for children.
- Out of the dark #doiknowu a campaign by the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) supported by the QPS and Department of Education, providing resources to help young people stay safe online.
- Think U Know is a partnership between Australian Federal Police, Commonwealth Bank, Datacom, Microsoft, State and Territory Police and Neighbourhood Watch. It provides information on topics including sexting, cyber bullying, online child exploitation, online privacy, and what to do when something goes wrong.
If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting.
Report crime information anonymously via Crime Stoppers. Call 1800 333 000 or report online at www.crimestoppersqld.com.au.