An Australian grandfather accused of grooming young girls on Facebook for sex in the Philippines has been granted bail.
Rex George Harrison, aged 63, was arrested by police at Brisbane Airport yesterday (Thursday, October 5) before he could board a flight to Manila.
Police commander Lesa Gale said Harrison had been chatting online to a girl aged under 16 “in an attempt to engage in sexual activity with her and other children”.
“There are offenders who seek to use the anonymity of the internet to identify and target vulnerable children,” she said.
Magistrate Judith Daley, sitting at Brisbane Magistrates Court, granted him bail on a number of conditions, including that he reside at an address in Loganlea.
A statement released by the Australian Federal Police said: “Police will allege the man had been engaging online with a girl under the age of 16 in the Philippines in an attempt to engage in sexual activity with her and other children.”
He told police that he believed the girl was over 18, despite her talking about being in school during their online conversations, the court heard.
Commonwealth prosecutor Sophie Harburg confirmed that the father-of-three was an Australian citizen but did not live in the country. He also has grandchildren and is a chef by trade.
Rex George Harrison will face court again on October 27. The charges against him carry a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.
According to a report on Mail Online, Harrison was spotted leaving the Brisbane Police Watch House after being granted bail.
Dressed in jeans and a blue striped t-shirt with colourful tattoos lining both arms, he appeared nervous as he left the premises.
He wheeled a suitcase behind him and clutched a piece of paper as he waited outside the building this afternoon.
Earlier this year, Australia has announced measures to prevent convicted child abusers from travelling abroad in a bid to protect vulnerable children across Southeast Asia.