A 42-year-old man who pretended to be Justin Bieber online has been charged with hundreds of incidents of child abuse, The Guardian reports.
The man — who lives in Australia but has not been named for legal reasons — was reportedly charged on Thursday with a total of 921 child sex offences, including rape, indecent treatment of children, and making child exploitation material.
The Guardian reports that the charges were brought after detectives found evidence pointing to illegal activities on his laptop following what was described as a “thorough examination.”
The man allegedly pretended to be the Canadian pop star online so that he could persuade children around the world to send him explicit images. It’s not clear which sites and platforms he used.
Police in Queensland are reportedly urging fans of Justin Bieber, who is currently on tour in Australia, to be extra vigilant online.
Inspector Jon Rouse, who works for Queensland Police Service’s anti-child exploitation task force, Argos, said the investigation showed “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 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.”
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