Fake Web profiles helped seduce young girl, court told

01:43, Jan 31 2009

A Melbourne man who lured an underage American girl into an online relationship asked her to join him in a suicide pact after police started investigating him, an Australian court heard.

Troy Belleth, 23, of Cranbourne North, also created several fake female identities on the Facebook and MySpace internet sites to trick the girl into sending him nude photos of herself, the Melbourne Magistrates Court was told.

Magistrate Brian Barrow heard that Belleth pursued an online relationship with his victim, who lives in the United States with her parents, for the past three years, since she was 12 years old.

Detective Senior Constable Bruce McFarlane told the court the victim's mother had overheard her daughter last year speaking with the accused on the phone, when he became sexually explicit with her.

The victim's parents notified US authorities, prompting police to raid Belleth's home on March 27 this year, arresting him and seizing his computer.

Belleth, who has been remanded since his arrest, is charged with using the internet to send indecent material to groom a person under 16 for sexual activity, with using the internet to incite a female to commit or attempt to commit suicide and of procuring the same girl with the aim of producing child pornography.

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He is also charged with one count of possessing movies and images of child pornography.

Det Sen Const McFarlane said police found nude and sexually explicit images of the victim on Belleth's computer.

"It is believed the defendant had accessed pornography sites and used images to create female social networking profiles on MySpace and Facebook internet sites, then used these profiles to encourage the victim to send sexually explicit images of herself to the defendant," he said.

After police had contacted Belleth in January this year, he escalated the online relationship to almost daily contact, going online at public libraries and an internet cafe, Det Sen Const McFarlane said.

"He stated he was going to commit suicide and invited her to also commit suicide before police intervention."

He said Belleth had posed as several girls similar to his victim's age and formed friendships with her through these profiles.

 

AAP