Gympie man charged with grooming children online

AS THE police strike force tasked with weeding out online child predators confirmed seven men had been charged in the Wide Bay Burnett yesterday, a 40-year-old Gympie man faced court.

Peter Louis Bowes faced seven charges in Gympie Magistrates Court, brought against him on December 1 and 2, 2014.

Mr Bowes, pinpointed by Taskforce Argos, faced three charges of grooming a child under 16 years with intent to expose them to indecent matter, three counts of possessing child exploitation material and one charge of using a carriage service to access child pornography material.

The charges, which were adjourned, span from April 2010 to December 2014.

Seven men taken down by the taskforce are before the courts on a range of child sex charges.

Among them is a 38-year-old Urangan man charged with five counts of indecent treatment of a child, two counts of recordings in breach of privacy and three counts of possessing child exploitation material as well as use of a carriage service to access child pornography, using a carriage service to make available child pornography, unlawful possession of a weapon and distributing child exploitation material.

A 41-year-old man, also from Urangan, is charged with possessing child exploitation material, use of a carriage service to procure a child under 16 and distributing child pornography.

A 46-year-old Rainbow Beach man is charged with eight counts of possessing child exploitation material and one count of accepting child pornography.

Four men from the Gympie and Burnett regions, aged 43, 75, 20 and 26, are also facing charges as a result of various operations carried out by the taskforce in the past eight months.

Last month, a Hervey Bay man fronted court charged with possessing child pornography.

Police prosecutor Kath Stagoll asked for an adjournment on the grounds police had discovered more material during a joint operation with police in Canada.

At least two of the men charged by Taskforce Argos are due to front the Hervey Bay District court next month.

A spokeswoman for Taskforce Argos said detectives would continue to proactively target child sex offenders who use the internet and other communication to prey on children.

"The evolution of computer and internet based technologies has unfortunately allowed child sex offenders easier access to communicate with children," the spokeswoman said

"It is important for parents and caregivers to understand and monitor the online activities of their children which includes their used of devises such as smart phones, tablets, computers and other devices.

"It is imperative parents have basic understanding of these technologies to enable them to guide, assist and supervise their children."

Gympie Times

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