Detectives have charged a man at Lake Macquarie over the alleged sexual assault of young girl he met on social media.
The State Crime Command's Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad last month began an investigation following reports a 12-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted earlier this year by a man she met online.
Following extensive inquiries, investigators searched a home at Cardiff about 8.40am on Tuesday.
During the search, officers seized mobile phones and other electronic devices.
A 19-year-old man was arrested and taken to Toronto Police Station, where he was charged with intentionally sexually touch child (between 10 and 16 years), five counts of have sexual intercourse with child (between 10 and 14 years), produce child abuse material and disseminate child abuse material.
Police will allege in court the man used social media to communicate with the girl, before sexually assaulting her at a park at West Wallsend in April.
It will be further alleged the man shared recordings of the incident on social media.
He was refused bail to appear at Toronto Local Court on Wednesday.
Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec said the incident was a timely reminder for parents and carers to speak with young people about potential dangers online.
"While social media apps allow us to be better connected with people we know, they also provide opportunity for people we don't know to connect with us - and this includes strangers talking to our children," he said.
"For young people, any online platform that allows them to be in contact with people they do not know - and have only met in the online environment - can put them at risk.
"We know that sexual predators may use the online environment to target children, so it is imperative that all young people know what to do if they are exposed to explicit or inappropriate conversations.
"It is common for young people to feel uncomfortable reporting these types of conversations, so I urge parents and carers to make sure they're assured that they don't need to be embarrassed or upset.
"From a police perspective our priority is protecting children from any type of harm, and we will track down anyone who uses the internet to groom and/or procure children for sex.
"Finally, I want to remind everyone to be careful about providing personal details on social media, especially to someone they only know online, and take extreme caution if making plans to meet up - consider whether you really know who it is you are meeting."
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