Mackay man arrested over 'lewd emojis' sent to teen girls
A MAN police will allege has been sending "X-rated" lewd emojis to girls in their early teens has been picked up again after being out on bail.
Fresh allegations have come forward from extensive investigations in the Ball Bay region for the man that had met some young teenagers at Halloween.
The parents of several other children have spoken to police, with further allegations of child grooming and inappropriate messages via gaming platforms, social media and text messaging arising.
Mackay Police Detective Inspector Brendan Smith fronted media this afternoon after arresting the man at work on Nebo Rd.
"In the last few minutes we've arrested a gentleman from Ball Bay on further grooming charges," he said.
"He was grooming them. He was using social platforms and messaging and texting to groom for nefarious purposes. He was sending inappropriate messages, there are some emojis out there that are commonly known as being X-rated and they have dual purposes.
"You may remember a few weeks ago we arrested a person on grooming charges, from Ball Bay, since that time and since that appeal to the public a number of other children have come forward which lead to additional investigations and an additional arrest warrant.
"He was located on Nebo Rd, probably half an hour ago now, and we arrested him and brought him to the station."
After the initial allegations parents began having conversations with their children about their online safety and their interactions, leading to further allegations.
"A lot of those kids spoke to those parents. It's the vigilance of parents that will ensure this behaviour is curtailed and kids don't understand the risk. They don't understand these sorts of people have evil intents," Insp Smith said.
"Parents and trusted adults need to be there supporting kids and telling them to come ford, that their behaviour is okay, it's the behaviour of the offenders.
And it may not be all over yet, with police expecting even more children to come forward given the size of the community. Police spoke to children as early as today regarding the man.
"We've spoken to a number of children already and we're engaging with their parents at the moment about the best way forward," Insp Smith said.
"Ball Bay is a small community ... I suspect that given social media and the use of those sorts of platforms that other children who have been affected will come forward.
"Those sorts of messages are how that contacted has started.
"He met some of them in person because of the nature of the community and he was a person that they would visit and things like that.
"I would allege he has taken advantage of that contact. All these girls all know each other and they have all visited each other in that ball bay area and that's what has lead to that contact with this offender.
"It's a concern that this type of offending is becoming more prevalent in society generally, that's why we press on parents and trusted adults to keep a vigilant idea of what their children are doing online.
"It's so easy for these people to use innocent game apps and things like that to start that contact with children and that leads to the offending behaviour down the track.
"It's not just about the offending behaviour, it's about protecting the children and protecting the children is our number one priority and that won't change."