Launceston community outraged over serial sex offender using social media

A serial sex offender who is continuing to use social media to contact young girls in Launceston has sparked outrage within the community.

The convicted criminal has a history of sex offences, including raping underage girls he met through Facebook.

As parents took to social media this week to share their concern, the issue of online grooming was addressed at a national level, with new laws passed on Thursday.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Protecting Minors Online) Bill, otherwise referred to as Carly’s Law, comes a decade after 15-year-old Carly Ryan was killed by a man who was posing as a teenage boy online.

She was the first Australian murdered by an online predator – causing a dramatic shift in how the public viewed cyber safety.

The new law will target online predators preparing or planning to cause harm or to procure or engage in sexual activity with a child as well as those who misrepresent their age.

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the move would provide police with the power to intervene before a predator has the chance to act and before a child is harmed.

“The tough new sentence of 10 years imprisonment for convicted offenders will also serve as a strong deterrent for the vile grooming of young Australians,” he said.

Tasmania Police said it continued to work with other government organisations to provide education and awareness to the public about online safety.

Parents concerned about their children’s online safety or use of social media can visit www.esafety.gov.au.