Sunshine Coast man Dion Adam Lingard charged with 116 child abuse offences | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Police are urging parents to be aware of their children’s online activity after a Sunshine Coast man was charged with more than 100 offences for allegedly abusing and raping children he preyed on online over several months.

Dion Adam Lingard, 31, has been charged with 116 offences, including rape, indecent treatment of a child, stalking, and making child exploitation material allegedly involving two young girls in the North Coast region.

Police allege Mr Lingard had been actively targeting minors online since August.

He was arrested after a search of a Sunshine Coast property in February and was refused police bail after being charged with 23 offences.

He has since been charged with a further 93 offences.

“We’re still going through a plethora of material we seized that day,” Detective Inspector Chris Toohey said. 

“The material was disturbing. 

Mr Lingard is due to face court again next week.

Police say they are continuing to work with and support the alleged victims and their families.

Detective Inspector Chris Toohey is urging parents to work with their kids to ensure online safety.(ABC Sunshine Coast: Bree Dwyer)

How the investigation unfolded

Police said they started the investigation after they allegedly discovered Mr Lingard was targeting children online who he did not know. 

Mr Lingard faced court twice last month charged with eight offences earlier in February including rape, supplying drugs to a minor and illegally filming a girl as she slept. 

Two days later the court heard details of another 15 alleged offences, almost all of which related to using children to make exploitation material since mid-2020. 

Police allege they have discovered more photos and videos identifying a second female victim, leading them to charge Mr Lingard with a further 93 offences. 

“We will be alleging that he’s met up with both victims,” Detective Inspector Toohey said. 

“He has [allegedly] procured and groomed a relationship online first and then has arranged to meet up with these minors after that.

“We have no knowledge of a further victim, but we are still going through a lot of material.

“There’s no greater web other than this man [allegedly] acting alone.” 

Keeping kids safe

Detective Inspector Toohey said parents needed to be vigilant how their children used internet-connected devices.

“We’re inviting offenders into their bedrooms if we allow children to take their devices there,” he said. 

“We need to make sure we know what our children are looking at and who are they talking to.

He said children needed to be reminded that stranger danger didn’t just happen out on the streets, it happened inside the house and inside their rooms. 

“Predatory behaviour is incredibly manipulative and can include scamming techniques,” he said.

“As a father myself, you really feel for the parents.

“It is very difficult to put yourself in their position.”

The Child Protection Investigation Unit encourages parents to work with their children on an agreed list of people they can connect with on social media and block users outside who cannot be trusted.

Police advise parents to know the password to their children’s laptops, phones or other devices. 

“We encourage children to listen to their instincts and tell a trusted adult if any conversation seems creepy or makes them feel uncomfortable,” Detective Inspector Toohey said. 

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