A 42-year-old Australian man has been charged with 931 child sex offences after allegedly posing as Justin Bieber online to groom young fans.
Queensland Police claimed the man had used Facebook and Skype to pose as the Canadian pop singer, and allege his offences stretch back to at least 2007.
"Police are asking Justin Bieber fans and their parents to be extra vigilant when using the internet after a man was charged with multiple serious offences after posing as the singer online," police said in a statement.
"Detectives from [online child abuse squad] Argos had been investigating a man who allegedly posed as Justin online in order to solicit explicit images from young children."
Police said the man had previously been arrested for "a number of child sex offences" including possession of child exploitation material and grooming young people online. Further investigations, including "a thorough examination of the man's computer", saw him this week charged with an additional 931 child sex offences including rape, indecent treatment of children, making child exploitation material, using a carriage service to procure person under 16, and using a carriage service for child pornography material.
"It will be alleged that the man used multiple online platforms including Facebook and Skype to communicate with his victims. A large amount of child exploitation material was seized from his computer. It is alleged his offending dates back to at least 2007," police said.
The Argos unit has become famous for its work in investigating those using the internet to commit child sex offences.
"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," said Detective Inspector John Rouse.
"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."
"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."
If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.
You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.
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