A 42-year-old Australian man is facing more than 900 counts of child sex charges after police discovered that he'd posed as Justin Bieber online in an attempt to get young fans to send him explicit photos. Police reportedly claim Gordon Douglas Chalmers—a law lecturer at Queensland University of Technology—used both Facebook and Skype to trick minors in the US, UK, and Australia.
According to the New York Times, Chalmers was already facing charges in Queensland for having child pornography and trying to entrap minors into sending sexually exploitative material. After he refused to let police take a look at his social media accounts, they raided his home and did a search of his computer. He now faces 931 counts of child sex charges, including rape, indecent treatment of children, and making child-exploitation material. Police allege these offenses date back to 2007.
Detective Inspector Jon Rouse said the case highlights how vulnerable young kids can be online, because of "the global reach and skill that child sex offenders have to groom and seduce victims."
"The fact that so many children could believe that they were communicating with this particular celebrity highlights the need for a serious rethink about the way that we as a society educate our children about online safety," Rouse said in a statement. "The breadth of offenses committed in this instance are frankly horrendous and I want to recognize the efforts and commitment of the investigative team at Taskforce Argos to keeping children safe."
Chalmers is set to next appear in court on April 6.