Police from the Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) have arrested a sports coach in Coffs Harbour following investigations into online child grooming. Photo: NSW Police State Crime Command
Police from the Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) have arrested a sports coach in Coffs Harbour following investigations into online child grooming. Photo: NSW Police State Crime Command

Police ask for more families to come forward

POLICE are urging anyone concerned by their child's interaction with a Coffs Harbour AFL coach who was charged with serious child exploitation offences yesterday to come forward.

Following a raid on the man's home just before 5pm on Tuesday, police have confiscated the man's computer, phone and other items and are looking into whether further charges may be laid.

State Crime Command child exploitation internet unit team leader Detective Sergeant Richard Long said the man was charged with Commonwealth offences carrying a maximum penalty of 12 years imprisonment.

Mark Heaney, 42, has been granted bail in a court appearance today relating to his arrest for allegedly grooming a 13-year-old boy for sex and sending indecent pictures.

Bail was set at $10,000 and the matter will go back before the court in July.

"Because he is so well known, that is a disturbing thing in relation to this investigation and that's why police have acted quickly yesterday in arresting him because of his access to children," Sergeant Long said.

He commended the family of a 13-year-old boy for their help leading to the arrest of the man alleged to have groomed and sent indecent images to the boy.

"Police are still looking into whether there may have been other children that have fallen victim to this person and certainly if there are any other children that have been associated with this person and things have been untoward we'd ask them to come forward and contact local police and Crimestoppers," Sergeant Long said.

"If there are children or families out there that have concerns, that have had dealings with this person we would encourage them come forward to the local police or contact crime stoppers."

AFL (NSW/ACT) said earlier the man had been stood down pending the outcome of his court appearance.

Sergeant Long said AFL officials had offered every assistance with the investigation.

"Police assumed an identity of a 13-year-old male, we communicated with the person that was arrested for a period of approximately four weeks, culminating in the arrest yesterday afternoon," he said.

The man was held overnight before a court appearance this morning.

Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 with any information relating to the case.



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