A man lured a nine-year-old boy into his home on the central New South Wales coast by promising to show him his pet lizard, before allegedly locking him inside for the night and indecently assaulting him, police say.
The boy was riding his skateboard with friends on Dening Street, The Entrance, about 3.45pm on Saturday, when the man approached him.
''He's enticed him there for the purpose of viewing his pet lizard,'' Tuggerah Lakes Local Area Command duty officer, Inspector Chris Welfare, said.
But once the boy was inside, the man allegedly locked the doors and indecently assaulted him throughout the night, police said.
The boy's mother began searching near Taylor Park, a reserve 400 metres from The Entrance police station, where he was allowed to play, when he did not return home by his 6pm curfew.
Police led the search throughout the night, before the boy's family spotted him and the man walking in Dening Street about 7.45am on Sunday.
The family called officers and went to the police station, where the boy told them the man had detained him and touched him.
The 36-year-old man was charged with indecently assaulting a person under the age of 16 years and take/detain person with intent to obtain advantage.
The boy was taken to hospital.
''He had no physical injuries, but some mental scars will be there,'' Inspector Welfare said.
''It's extremely serious and the 'stranger danger' message needs to get out there.''
The man was refused bail and will face Wyong Local Court on Monday morning.
In a separate case, a 21-year-old man posing as a photographer looking for models allegedly contacted a 13-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl on social media and asked for nude photos, police said.
The man arranged to meet the girls and allegedly sexually assaulted them at two different locations near Newcastle, police said.
He was charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count each of aggravated indecent assault and intimidation.
He will face Newcastle Local Court on Monday.
- Sydney Morning Herald