Police urge parents to help protect kids from web predators

QUEENSLAND'S chief investigator into networking pedophiles has urged parents to remain vigilant against the "relentless threat" from internet-based predators.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission's alert follows successful prosecutions in the past month against two high-end Brisbane offenders who groomed teenage victims online.

CMC Crime Operations Co-ordinator Detective Inspector Lance Vercoe said pedophiles were trawling social networking sites and online forums daily for their next victims.

He said the organisation's Cerberus team was infiltrating these global "insidious networks" and aimed to move on offenders before they began grooming children to generate new child pornography material.

Det Vercoe said one of the biggest challenges in tracking high-end offenders stemmed from ever-changing technology.

He said offenders constantly devised new ways to contact each other, share information about law enforcement methodologies and cover their tracks through encryption and evidence wiping software.

"Our message is simple: parents are the first line of defence in protecting their children from internet-based paedophiles who will stop at nothing to get what they want," he said.

"These criminals prey on the vulnerability of children and if they fail to engage one, they'll move on to another and another until they get a bite.

"Once they get a bite and manage to elicit personal information and images/video streams from their victims, they use blackmail to obtain further explicit material, for example by threatening to send information or images to teachers or friends.

"It should come as no surprise that children simply don't have the emotional capacity to deal with this and may be too embarrassed to tell their parents or even friends, which is why we're urging parents to maintain open lines of communication."

Det Vercoe said parents should not overreact and ban internet access but talk openly with their children.

He said it was important to reinforce the most important message that they never talk or share personal information or images with strangers.

"Most children understand that it's not safe to talk to adults who are 'strangers' in a park, for example, but online they may not realise the hidden, criminal identity of paedophiles who are often posing as children," he said.

"Sadly, this is typical of the type of offending we see by internet-based paedophiles.

"They know the language children use and how to impersonate them and what starts out as an innocent conversation can quickly escalate to the point where victims are divulging personal details or sharing photos and video streaming."


Two Brisbane men, from Spring Hill and Browns Plains, were separately sentenced in Brisbane Supreme Court to five and six years' jail, respectively.

The first man, 38, was arrested outside the Queensland State Library using free wifi to share child pornography just four months after being released from jail on child sex offences.

He had accessed about 1150 child porn images and videos over three months and shared up to 40 files through a network of other pedophiles.

The second man, 27, sodomised and indecently dealt with a 13-year-old boy he had targeted through an internet chat forum.

He had almost 3800 child exploitation images and videos.

He had shared more than 1450 of them with up to 94 contacts in an online paedophile network over four months.

The man had also transmitted more than 850 child exploitation files via two internet messaging programs over the same period.



CMC web-based pedophilia investigations since 2002:

  • 121 offenders
  • 1090 charges

Joint CMC, QPS, interstate and international agencies investigations:

  • 60 offenders
  • 7471 charges

REVEALED: 500,000 pages of documents state wont let you see

Premium Content REVEALED: 500,000 pages of documents state wont let you see

Thousands spent trying to uncover secret government documents

VOTE NOW: Which's the Best Bakery in Gatton region

Premium Content VOTE NOW: Which's the Best Bakery in Gatton region

VOTE NOW: Which's the Best Bakery in Gatton, Lockyer, Bris Valley

Shooters killed cows and removed some of their meat: Cops

Premium Content Shooters killed cows and removed some of their meat: Cops

Police investigating shooting of cows and deer