Police have arrested and charged a 41-year-old Belconnen man with committing an act of indecency on a child in the second arrest by the taskforce set up to investigate the spate of child approaches across the ACT and Queanbeyan.
ACT Policing said that on 17 August around 11 am, police responded to reports of two primary students being approached by a man near the Macquarie Primary School boundary fence. Police allege the man committed an act of indecency on one of the young children.
As a result of information provided by students, teachers and the public, police executed a search warrant on Monday morning (1 October) and arrested and charged the 41-year-old Belconnen man, who will face court today. He is the second man to face the ACT Magistrates Court as a result of investigations by Taskforce Tydeus.
Detective Acting Superintendent Matthew Reynolds said the man arrested resembled the face-fit image released by police in August but the man was not linked to any of the 17 other child approaches reported by police.
Detective Acting Superintendent Reynolds said there was no information to suggest the two men arrested were working together but the investigation was ongoing.
“Clearly this is a very distressing incident that happened to a young child and that is why ACT Policing have set up Taskforce Tydeus. We take these matters very seriously and our interest is in protecting our children,” he said.
Detective Acting Superintendent Reynolds said police were concerned there may be further people involved and Taskforce Tydeus was taking all reports seriously and would examine all available information in order to identify suspects.
Police are encouraging parents, guardians and teachers to make sure children understand how to keep themselves safe and to teach children about stranger safety. Information on ways to help children to stay safe is available on the Constable Kenny Koala website.
ACT Policing’s stranger safety tips, which can be found on its website, include:
- Stay close to a grownup and hold their hand when you are out
- Know your name, address and phone number
- Don’t speak to adults you don’t know
- Don’t take toys or food from people you don’t know
- Always stay with your parents or a friend
- If you get lost find someone you can trust wearing a uniform like a police officer or shopkeeper
- If a stranger makes you feel unsafe, tell a trusted adult straight away.
Police said they were reviewing all reports of child approaches received since February and were asking anyone with information to email Op-Tydeus@afp.gov.au.
If you become aware of an incident or notice anyone acting suspiciously around a school or child, contact police immediately on 131 444 or in the case of an emergency call 000.
Anyone who may have any information that could assist police can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Please quote Taskforce Tydeus reference 6269577. Information can be provided anonymously.