Court John Weekes

Ball Bay man charged with allegedly grooming teen

UPDATE 2.50PM: A BALL Bay man accused of sexually grooming a 12-year-old child had met the child in person through Halloween celebrations a few years ago, police will allege. 

Detective Inspector Brendan Smith said the Mackay Child Protection Investigation Unit has already identified one more victim and fears there may be more. 

"It's led to the victim child and other children attending his residence, and he's developed that relationship online through mainstream social media apps," he said. 

"This girl was 12, she had no idea the risks that were involved." 

The man allegedly used sexualised emojis to request indecent photos of the girl.

Det Insp Smith has asked parents to remain vigilant. 

"If kids online are feeling uncomfortable with what they are receiving online, that's for a reason, it's their own body reacting to this indecent behaviour and they should listen to it," he said. 

It is not alleged at this stage that any physical sexual assault occurred. 

INITIAL: A BALL Bay man has been charged in relation to the alleged grooming a 12-year-old child.

The Mackay Child Protection Investigation Unit arrested the man yesterday, and it will be alleged the man used a carriage service to engage with a 12-year-old girl over a four month period grooming her and exchanging child exploitation material.

He will appear in Mackay Magistrates Court on July 10 charged with grooming person under age of 16 years.

Detective Inspector Brendan Smith is encouraging parents to be vigilant and have a conversation with their children regarding cyber safety.

"Investigations to date would suggest the current victim child may not be only one, accordingly we are seeking assistance from the community to identify other children possibly at risk, particularly in the Ball Bay, Halliday Bay, Seaforth and Calen areas," he said.

"It will be alleged the child was contacted via mainstream social media.

"Yesterday's arrest reinforces the important role of parents and trusted adults play in identifying predatory behaviour targeting our children."

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