“This guy could have written the book on paedophilia.”
When his 13-year-old daughter began incessantly chatting on her social media channels, Lachlan Smith* did what so many concerned parents have done: He checked her phone.
It soon became clear the Western Australian father had been right to be suspicious. What he found was the very sort of sickening exchange he’d dreaded — reams of messages from an older, married man “grooming” her for a sexual relationship.
WA News, which has viewed some of those messages, reports they show the 24-year-old man building the Perth girl’s trust, talking about hugging her, and even saying the thought of her gave him an erection.
All are typical behaviours of online child grooming, which involves befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child to lower the child’s inhibitions for sexual abuse.
“This guy could have written the book on paedophilia. It’s mindblowing,” a concerned Mr Smith told WA News of the sickening messages. “There were pages and pages on how tough his life is, threats of suicide, and my daughter comforting him, acting like a 27-year-old.
“I was broken. I couldn’t believe it.”
Mr Smith promptly took the exchanges to his teen daughter, who broke down and swore to cut off contact with the man.
But when Mr Smith contacted the police, authorities flat-out refused to investigate the disturbing exchanges.
While child grooming is a crime under Australian Federal law, and the various states and territories have their own laws on child sexual grooming, police told Mr Smith that there was no evidence of a crime unless the alleged predator made specific plans to meet up.
“I have been advised that police thoroughly investigated the allegation, however the investigations and the available evidence did not establish any offences, either under State or Commonwealth law,” Attorney General Michael Mischin confirmed.