A Russian Orthodox priest has been charged with numerous offences including child grooming, indecent assault and detain for advantage.
In July 2014, detectives from the NSW Police Force’s Sex Crimes Squad and AFP officers formed Strike Force Zama to investigate allegations concerning a man in his 30s.
Inquiries revealed that a 32-year-old Russian Orthodox Priest, who had arrived in Australia in 2013, had been communicating with a 15-year-old Belarusian boy over the internet.
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In July 2014, the 15-year-old arrived in Australia and stayed in accommodation at the Inner West (Sydney) church where the priest resided.
Police made contact with the priest and the teen on Tuesday 22 July 2014 and both were interviewed.
The priest subsequently had his visa cancelled by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and was detained in Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.
Yesterday (Wednesday 19 August 2015), Sex Crimes Squad investigators attended Villawood Immigration Detention Centre where they arrested the priest, now aged 33.
He was charged with a number of offences, including:
– Three counts of aggravated indecent assault;
– One count of grooming a child under 16 years for unlawful sexual activity; and
– Once count of detain for advantage.
Refused bail, he appeared before Bankstown Local Court yesterday and was remanded in custody to next appear at Burwood Local Court on 14 October 2015.