NEWS

Justin Bieber Impersonator Charged With Child Sex Offences, Internet Luring

03/08/2017 11:01 EST | Updated 03/09/2017 12:11 EST

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 the suspect's 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."

justin bieber Canadian singer Justin Bieber poses at an event in Hong Kong in June 2015. (Photo: Bobby Yip/Reuters)

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," police said.

"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."

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 utilizing 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 recognize the efforts and commitment of the investigative team at Taskforce Argos to keeping children safe."

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