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Dad recounts horror at online sex predator’s chats with his 13-year-old daughter

A cyber safety expert confirmed the man’s actions would have prompted grooming charges in other states in Australia. Photo: Erin JonassonOnline grooming of girl, 13, a ‘wake up call’
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

A father “shattered” by the discovery of his 13-year-old daughter’s online relationship with a 24-year-old man says state law is insufficient to cope with sexual predators on social media.

The father, who cannot be named for privacy reasons, discovered reams of conversations on his daughter’s phone, some of which WAtoday has viewed.

They show the man building trust with the girl, telling her of problems with his partner and children, talking about hugging her, threatening self-harm and describing his body’s sexual reaction to pictures of her.

In one exchange, the man tells the girl he had an erection that morning while thinking of her.

Police told him this was not evidence of a crime under West Australian law.

The father allowed his daughter to get Facebook and messaging apps when she turned 13.

Several months ago he became aware she was “chatting” a lot and heard the name mentioned of a man their family had a passing acquaintance with, who he knew was married with children.

“I had a bad feeling,” he said.

After his daughter mentioned she had seen the man at a social gathering he became “extremely nervous” and when presented with a chance to examine her phone he checked through her messages.

“I nearly collapsed,” he said.

“This was grooming 101. This guy could have written the book on paedophilia. It’s mindblowing. There were pages and pages on how tough his life is, threats of suicide, and my daughter comforting him, acting like a 27-year-old.

“Nobody reading this drivel would for a minute think it’s sweet and innocent and harmless.

“I was broken. I couldn’t believe it. I confronted her there and then – I didn’t know what else to do, we were both shattered.

“If there’s one kid out there I thought would never get caught by a guy like this it would be my daughter. She is a bright girl.”

When confronted, she broke down, telling her father she had not meant her declarations of love for the man, but felt pressured to make them. She cut off contact with him at her father’s order.

“I hope and pray this has not affected her emotionally in the long term,” he said.

“Touch wood, my family is OK.

“The part that rattles me is that this could be happening to someone else – this piece of human rubbish is potentially getting someone else’s kid.

“He’s not just keen on young girls, he’s actively engaging them.”

He said police had been helpful but the stack of pages he printed showing “thousands” of conversations was not enough to charge or search the man’s electronics under the law.

“If that is the case the law is a joke,” he said.

“This is a real paedo on the street and there is not enough evidence?

“The detective inspector was unbelievably helpful, friendly and professional and they have had a look at him but there is not the evidence.

“The police – their job is hard enough, I don’t blame them under the circumstances. It is the law that is wrong. We are letting a potential monster escape.

If this can be a wake-up call for the community I don’t have a choice but to take this further.”

Attorney General Michael Mischin said he understood the father’s distress.

“Both the father and daughter were spoken to by the Child Assessment & Interview Team at WA Police to ascertain whether any charges could be laid,” he said.

“I have been advised that police thoroughly investigated the allegation, however the investigations and the available evidence did not establish any offences, either under State or Commonwealth law.

“WA Police have informed me that they are satisfied with the current legislation and believe it is contemporaneous and comparable with other jurisdictions.”

A WA police spokesperson said a senior commissioned Sex Crimes Division officer had “fully briefed” the father on the outcome of the investigation.

“The complaint was investigated and the investigation reviewed and it was determined there was insufficient evidence to prosecute any person. As with all matters of this type, should any further information be provided to police, it will be assessed,” the spokesperson said.

Cyber safety expert and former Victorian police officer Susan McLean, who the father turned to after WA Police’s lack of action, told Radio 6PR she had consulted other state police jurisdictions, showing them the transcripts, and all had said the behaviour was clearly “grooming” and in any other state would have prompted questioning and potential charges.

“If your laws are deficient, this is a wake-up call, because she is not the only young person in WA being groomed online and if other parents become aware of it they will get the same blockage when they try to report it,” she told Radio 6PR. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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