Man Charged After Police Pose As 14-Year-Old Girl
Driving instructor charged with sex offence.
A former driving instructor has been arrested after the detectives lured him out under the pretense of meeting a 14-year-old girl for sex after chatting online, police allege.
Officers under Strike Force Trawler claim they began engaging Tony Whale, 63, through a social media site in June.
"The engagement became very quickly highly sexually explicit and very concerning on our behalf, " said Detective Inspector Mick Haddow, of the NSW Police Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad.
"We will allege that the man we were engaging with believed he was speaking to a 14-year-old girl and arranged to meet that girl," he said.
Police met Whale in Westmead to arrest him on Thursday around midday.
The father faced Parramatta court on Friday charged with using a carriage service to procure a person under 16 years old for sex.
They also executed a search warrant of his Castle Hill home, seizing laptops and computers as part of the investigation.
The owner-operator of the Sydney driving school Whale worked at told Ten Eyewitness News he was "shocked" to hear of the arrest and that Whale passed all the necessary working with children checks.
"We never had any customers complain... he's a family man, you know," he said.
Haddow didn't reveal the exact web site used, but said there is no telling who could be at the other end of online games, websites and social media pages. He said generally speaking online predators don't conform to one age, background or occupation.
Police have used the arrest as a reminder for parents to be vigilant about their children's internet use, especially this time of year.
"It's school holidays, so there's no better time than for parents to speak to kids about the dangers of online websites, online games and online social media apps," Haddow said.
Whale remains in custody. The matter was adjourned until July 26.