Officer in Charge of Rockhampton CPIU Detective Senior Sergeant Damien Smith.
Officer in Charge of Rockhampton CPIU Detective Senior Sergeant Damien Smith.

Fears alleged Gracemere child rapist had more victims

IT WAS a tip-off to police by one of eight alleged victims of a man charged with rape and other offences that started an investigation into alleged sexual crimes in Rockhampton.

A 20-year-old Gracemere man was arrested in September, charged with one count of rape, unlawful carnal knowledge, possession of child exploitation material, indecent treatment of a child, and using the internet to procure children.

Detective Senior Sergeant Damien Smith alleged the man used Snapchat to groom the victims, who were aged from 12 to 15 years old, all from "the Rockhampton area".

"It's possible he may have known some of the victims prior," he said.

"We have reason to believe there are quite potentially a number of victims out there.

"We had some information coming in for a short period of time, and then one of the victims actually came forward on their own volition, which commenced the operation."

Snr Sgt Smith said Snapchat was a "popular social media platform of choice" in "creating familiarity" because of its design, allowing videos to be shared only temporarily.

He recommended parents spoke with their children to encourage them to be upfront about the people with whom they spoke online.

He said there was no reason to believe any other person was involved in the alleged offending, which was supposed to have taken place between January 2019 and September 2020.

The alleged offender is due to appear in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on November 18.