An Australian man has been charged with over 900 child sex offences, after allegedly luring victims by pretending to be Justin Bieber (who is currently touring down under) on a number of social media platforms.
The 42-year-old man, who has previously been charged with a number of child sex offences, has now had another 931 charges made against him, after police examined his computer. The charges include (but aren’t limited to) rape, indecent treatment of children and making child exploitation material.
Queensland Police’s Task Force Argos had been investigating the man, who was allegedly posing as Bieber online in order to solicit explicit images from children.
Police allege the man used multiple platforms, including Facebook and Skype, to communicate with potential victims. They also say “a large amount of child exploitation material” has been seized from the man’s computer, dating back to at least 2007.
Detective Inspector Jon Rouse says parents and guardians should be extra vigilant about how their children use the internet.
“This investigation demonstrates both the vulnerability of children that are utilising social media and communication applications and the global reach and skill that child sex offenders have to groom and seduce victims,” he says.
“The fact that so many children could believe that they were communicating with this particular celebrity highlights the need for a serious rethink about the way that we as a society educate our children about online safety.
“The breadth of offences committed in this instance are frankly horrendous and I want to recognise the efforts and commitment of the investigative team at Taskforce Argos to keeping children safe.”
The real Justin Bieber’s Australian ‘Purpose’ tour kicked off in Perth on Monday night, and continues in Melbourne on Friday night, before heading to Brisbane and Sydney.
Task Force Argos will attend the Out of the Dark Expo at the State Library of Queensland this weekend, and will be able to answers questions from parents about how to best keep their children safe online.
Anyone with information regarding the man charged is urged to contact police on 131 444, or use this online form.
If you need assistance, 1800 RESPECT – the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service — can be reached on 1800 737 732, while Lifeline can be reached on 13 11 14.