Bieber-poser charged with sex crimes
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — A 42-year-old Australian man who allegedly posed as Justin Bieber online to solicit explicit images from children has been charged with more than 900 child sex offenses, police said Thursday.
Gordon Douglas Chalmers, a law lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, was charged in November with using Facebook and Skype to impersonate the star, after tip-offs from U.S. and German authorities. Chalmers was charged with using a carriage service to procure and groom children for sex and to access child pornography. He was also charged with possessing child porn.
As a result of warrants issued in November to search his social media and messaging accounts and cloud servers, Chalmers was charged this week with another 931 child sex offenses dating back a decade, including rape and making child exploitation material, a police statement said.
“The fact that so many children could believe that they were communicating with this particular celebrity highlights the need for a serious rethink about the way that we as a society educate our children about online safety,” Police Detective Inspector Jon Rouse said in a statement.
“The breadth of offenses committed in this instance is frankly horrendous,” Rouse added.
Police have not said how many children had become victims or in what countries they live. But Rouse said the investigation showed “the global reach and skill that child sex offenders have to groom and seduce victims.”
Chalmers has yet to enter pleas. It is not clear how long he could spend in prison if convicted.
‘Game of Thrones’ rock collapses
VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — The Azure Window, a natural rock arch which jutted onto the sea off Malta and was a backdrop for the “Game of Thrones” TV series, has collapsed in a storm.
Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted his “heartbreaking” sadness at the loss Wednesday of one of the main tourist attractions on the island of Gozo.
No one was injured.
Geologist Peter Gatt said the limestone pillar supporting the arch gave way. He attributed the collapse to years of erosion by both under- and over-ground sea swells.
The window also served as a backdrop in the 1981 movie “Clash of the Titans.”
With parts of the rock formation crumbling over the years, the government last month enacted € 1,500 fines ($2,300) for anyone caught walking across the arch.
FB to stream MLS games
NEW YORK (AP) — At least 22 Major League Soccer games this season will be streamed live on Facebook with English-language commentary under an agreement with Univision Deportes.
The league and network said Friday that Chicago’s match at expansion Atlanta on March 18 will be the first of the telecasts available on Univision Deportes’ Facebook page.
Univision holds MLS’s Spanish-language broadcast rights, and ESPN and Fox share English-language rights.
Univision says the Facebook streams will have their own commentators, interactive graphics and fan question-and-answer features. The streamed games are matches Univision already holds rights to, and the streams will be viewable only in the U.S.
Major League Baseball has been investigating whether it can gain the clearances from rights holders necessary to start Facebook streams.
Comic pleads not guilty to assault
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Actor and comedian Faizon Love has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge after an alleged altercation with a valet at the Columbus airport.
Love pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Franklin County Municipal Court and was released on $2,000 bond. He was arrested Tuesday and jailed overnight after authorities alleged he argued with the 24-year-old man and assaulted him in a baggage claim area.
Authorities say Love grabbed the man behind the neck and threw him to the ground and into a desk, then pushed him down when he tried to get up. Video of the altercation was released Wednesday.
Defense attorney John Moore has said there was a disagreement over payment.
Love is scheduled to make appearances at a Columbus comedy club next week.