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Perth man facing sextortion charges accused of blackmailing 112 girls from various countries

By Amy Johnston

A 25-year-old Perth man has faced court charged over the alleged online sexual exploitation of 112 girls from various countries.

The man allegedly pretended to be a 15-year-old social media celebrity to befriend the girls before blackmailing them into performing sexual acts for him on camera, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said.

He was identified as Parkwood man Muhammed Zain Ul Abideen Rasheed, 25, when he appeared in Perth Magistrates Court this morning.

He did not enter pleas and was released on bail until his next court appearance on December 4.

The Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) began investigating the alleged sextortion following reports from United States Homeland Security investigators.

One 13-year-old US girl told police she met the man online and thought he was a 15-year-old boy before he began to ask her sexually explicit questions, the AFP said.

He allegedly edited images of their online chat to make it appear the girl shared his sexual fantasies, before threatening to send them to her family and friends if she did not comply with his demands.

The man then allegedly forced her to take off her clothes and engage in sexual acts while he and others watched her online.

He was identified as Parkwood man Muhammed Zain Ul Abideen Rasheed, 25, when he appeared in Perth Magistrates Court this morning.

He did not enter pleas and was released on bail until his next court appearance on December 4.

The Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) began investigating the alleged sextortion following reports from United States Homeland Security investigators.

One 13-year-old US girl told police she met the man online and thought he was a 15-year-old boy before he began to ask her sexually explicit questions, the AFP said.

He allegedly edited images of their online chat to make it appear the girl shared his sexual fantasies, before threatening to send them to her family and friends if she did not comply with his demands.

The man then allegedly forced her to take off her clothes and engage in sexual acts while he and others watched her online.

Thousands of images allegedly found

Police allege he used similar deceit to blackmail other girls in various countries into providing him with sexually explicit images or videos.

Investigations by WA JACET officers led police to the man in the south-eastern Perth suburb Parkwood.

The AFP said his house was searched and multiple electrical devices including a mobile phone, computer hard drives and USBs were seized.

Police allege an initial review of the devices found more than 2,000 images of girls, most of them sexually explicit.

The man is facing 113 charges including 50 counts of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, 26 counts of compelling a person to engage in sexual behaviour and 17 counts of soliciting child pornography material using a carriage service.

The AFP said a detailed review of hundreds of social media chats stored on the man’s devices and provided by Homeland Security investigators was ongoing, and further charges may be laid.

Police working to identify other girls

AFP Detective Senior Constable Barry Duman said police were working with international law enforcement partners to identify all of the girls who had allegedly been targeted and offer welfare support.

“This type of online exploitation and abuse is devastating and can cause lifelong trauma,” he said.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure children are protected from predatory offending against their innocence.”

Senior Constable Duman said police would allege some of the evidence seized included text conversations and videos of the girls pleading for the man to leave them alone, detailing their distress, fear and humiliation.

He said the 13-year-old girl in the US had been very brave to tell her mother about the alleged abuse.

Police said the man’s bail conditions restricted his internet access, barred him from having unsupervised access to children under the age of 16 and also required him to surrender his passport.

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