NSPCC sends urgent message to tech companies as Cameron Osman pleads guilty to child sex offences

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Youth worker Cameron Osman posed as a 16 year-old Birmingham girl to groom more than 70 boys in the UK and more across the world

Former children’s holiday camp manager Cameron Osman has pleaded guilty to grooming more than 70 teenage girls online while pretending to be a 16 year-old girl from Birmingham.

The 44 year-old, from Southampton, was in contact with 76 boys in the UK aged between 12 and 16 - all have been safeguarded.

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Investigators in the United States also uncovered chat logs showing sexualised communications by Osman with underage boys in 27 countries, including Columbia - where he was planning to visit. No evidence of offending was found at the children’s holiday camp where he had been working, the National Crime Agency said.

His guilty plea at St Alban’s Crown Court on Tuesday (May 2) has prompted children’s charity NSPCC to make a direct plea to tech companies to play their role in protecting children online. The charity has also urged the government to hold tech company senior managers liable for failing to tackle child sex abuse on their sites.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Osman’s alarming catalogue of online offences against young boys will have caused considerable harm, and it is vital that all those impacted are supported to help them recover.

“Unregulated social media is fuelling an unprecedented scale of online child sexual abuse. So it is vital tech companies play their role in preventing and detecting offending like that of Osman by taking active steps to ensure their products and services do not contribute to child sexual abuse.

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“The Government must also take the opportunity when finalising the Online Safety Bill to ensure senior managers are held liable for failing to tackle child sexual abuse permeating their sites. Anyone concerned about a child’s safety can contact the NSPCC Helpline at [email protected].”

Osman is due to be sentenced at  St Albans Crown Court on Friday, 30 June. NCA Operations Manager Danielle Pownall said: “Cameron Osman callously preyed on vulnerable teenage boys, masquerading as a teenage girl for his own sexual gratification.

“I have no doubt, if we had not stopped Osman he would have gone on to commit more severe offending. We will continue to work with our partners across the world to combat the perpetrators of online child sexual abuse, and hold people like Osman accountable for their crimes.”