Australian soldier used social media to entice underage girl into sex, court told

An Australian soldier has used social media in an attempt to lure an underage girl into sex, a court in North Queensland has heard.

The 33-year-old was arrested after police carried out a search warrant at a Murray address in Townsville on Thursday.

The man was charged with three counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16, possessing child exploitation material, and using the internet to procure children under 16.

It has been alleged the Australian Defence Force (ADF) sergeant committed offences against the teenage girl in Townsville between March and June this year.

The court heard the Queensland man made contact with the 14-year-old girl via Instagram and gave her money in exchange for sexually explicit images and acts.

A message exchange between the pair was read to court where he asked to keep their relationship a secret.

“The defendant tells the victim ‘no-one can ever find out about this ever’.

The victim/child responds “yeah, I understand because you could get into trouble”.

“The defendant tells the victim she could get into just as much trouble because she accepted his money.”

The court heard the man had multiple social media accounts and a police search of the address revealed a number of mobile phones, tablets and storage devices.

In a statement, Defence said “the allegations against the soldier are taken very seriously and are completely at odds with the values of the Australian Defence Force”.

In refusing his bail application today, Magistrate Steven Mosh said the allegations were “exceptionally serious”.

“One might infer that some sexual activity had already taken place, with attempts being made to engage the complainant in further sexual activity,” he said.

Magistrate Mosh said the 33-year-old had not been cooperative with police in declaring other social media accounts.

The soldier will front court again at the end of August.

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