A CAMERON Park man accused of using social media to assume the identity of a Hunter high school teacher so he could sexually groom one of the teacher's students allegedly requested that the pair meet at a Lake Macquarie shopping centre to have sex.
Gerard Daniel Lazarus, a 45-year-old electrician, is accused of grooming young teenage girls and soliciting and sending sexually explicit images over social media applications between 2014 and his arrest this week.
Australian Federal Police investigators are currently examining 17 electronic devices seized during a raid at Mr Lazarus's home on Thursday and are working to identify at least four other potential victims, with prosecutors saying further charges are expected.
Mr Lazarus was represented by solicitor James Janke when he appeared in Toronto Local Court on Friday charged with eight offences, including two counts of using a carriage service to engage in sexual activity with a child, offences which made him the first person in NSW to be charged subject to the "First Strike" bail offence.
The new provision came into effect last month and results in a presumption against bail, meaning the onus is on an offender to convince a court why they should be granted bail.
Mr Janke submitted that if granted bail Mr Lazarus could post a $10,000 surety, move out of the family home and not access any electronic devices or the internet.
But Magistrate Bruce Williams said the allegations involved a "persistent and continued attempt" to groom young girls, discussion of extreme acts of violence and rape and said Mr Lazarus posed an unacceptable risk of re-offending if granted bail.
"The things that he has allegedly encouraged or talked about are not benign in nature," Mr Williams said. "There are knives being talked about, the infliction of pain, talk of rape and acts of extreme violence. "A person like that who has a capacity to incite or talk about these sorts of matters, if he was in the community with those urges and that level of passion involved, my view would be there would be a real risk to the community."
The matter was referred to the AFP in December, 2018, after a Hunter teacher self-reported that a former student had approached him about their "relationship".
The girl had been speaking online for more than a year with a man purporting to be her high school teacher but who police allege was Mr Lazarus.