FIEND OF THE FAM­ILY

Cops al­lege preda­tor be­friended boy’s par­ents to con­tinue abuse

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS McMA­HON

A MAN al­legedly fol­lowed a fam­ily when they moved to Townsville and in­gra­ti­ated him­self to them to con­tinue a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with their teenage son.

Itin­er­ant Shane Wilkin­son, 47, was ex­tra­dited to Townsville on Satur­day af­ter be­ing ar­rested in Syd­ney last week and will face court this morn­ing ac­cused of main­tain­ing a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with the boy, 14, in 2006 and 2007.

Townsville Child Pro­tec­tion In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit de­tec­tives flew to Syd­ney last week to track down the home­less Wilkin­son ( pic­tured).

Wilkin­son faces charges of sodomy, main­tain­ing a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a child and five counts of in­de­cent treat­ment of a child un­der 16.

CPIU of­fi­cer- in- charge de­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Dave Miles said po­lice would al­lege Wilkin­son groomed the boy on­line and fol­lowed him to Townsville when his fam­ily moved.

( PO­LICE) WILL AL­LEGE HE MADE HIS WAY INTO THE FAM­ILY UNIT AND THEN COM­MENCED THE SEX­UAL RE­LA­TION­SHIP SEN- SGT DAVE MILES

A MAN al­legedly fol­lowed a fam­ily when they moved to Townsville and in­gra­ti­ated him­self to them to con­tinue a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with their teenage son.

Shane Wilkin­son, 47, was ex­tra­dited from Syd­ney to Townsville on Satur­day and will face court this morn­ing ac­cused of main­tain­ing a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with the boy, 14, in 2006 and 2007.

Townsville Child Pro­tec­tion In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit de­tec­tives flew to Syd­ney last week to track down the home­less Wilkin­son. He faces charges of sodomy, main­tain­ing a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a child and five counts of in­de­cent treat­ment of a child un­der 16.

CPIU of­fi­cer- in- charge de­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Dave Miles said po­lice would al­lege Wilkin­son groomed the boy and fol­lowed him to Townsville when his fam­ily moved.

“We will al­lege the ac­cused started an on­line re­la­tion­ship with the child, who was 14 at the time, which has then pro­gressed to a phys­i­cal re­la­tion­ship,” he said.

“This oc­curred in an­other state, then the fam­ily moved here and he has moved to Townsville to con­tinue the re­la­tion­ship.

“It will be al­leged he be­came a fam­ily friend, he has in­gra­ti­ated him­self into the fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment, af­ter the ini­tial on­line con­tact.

“We will al­lege he made his way into the fam­ily unit and then com­menced the sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with him over a num­ber of years.”

The vic­tim re­cently came for­ward to po­lice and re­ported the al­leged of­fences.

“We’ve been at­tempt­ing to lo­cate ( Wilkin­son) for some time. He lives an itin­er­ant life­style and we’ve tracked him across two other states be­fore he was lo­cated liv­ing on the streets in Syd­ney,” Sen- Sgt Miles said.

“He was ar­rested on Thurs­day and ap­peared be­fore the Syd­ney Cen­tral Court on Fri­day, where a judge au­tho­rised for him to be ex­tra­dited in cus­tody back to Queens­land to face the charges.

Sen- Sgt Miles said po­lice would op­pose bail, given the sever­ity of the charges.

“Un­der crim­i­nal law, main­tain­ing a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a child is the ul­ti­mate of­fence from our per­spec­tive,” he said.

Sen- Sgt Miles said on­line mes­sage boards, ap­pli­ca­tions and so­cial me­dia web­sites had been used to groom chil­dren for sev­eral years.

“Ten years ago, the in­ter­net was only start­ing to get into the whole so­cial me­dia en­vi­ron­ment. We are now start­ing to see his­tor­i­cal mat­ters come to our no­tice that com­menced that way in the ear­lier years,” he said.

“Whether they’re his­toric of­fences or re­cently oc­cur­ring of­fences, we en­deav­our to in­ves­ti­gate them fully and bring the per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice.

“It’s im­por­tant from our per­spec­tive, par­tic­u­larly with his­tor­i­cal mat­ters, we seek to bring the of­fend­ers to jus­tice.

“The al­leged vic­tims prob­a­bly har­bour a stigma that they may not be be­lieved or that it’s not worth pur­su­ing … we def­i­nitely would dis­cour­age that be­lief. They should come for­ward and let us out­line their op­tions to them.”

Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

SE­RI­OUS CHARGES: Shane Wilkin­son, 47, in a po­lice van at Townsville Air­port on Satur­day af­ter be­ing flown from Syd­ney.

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