Wollongong cricket coach accused of grooming teen boy

Christopher Cranny fronted Wollongong Local Court on Friday afternoon after being arrested for multiple child sex offences.

Police alleged in court that the man exposed a teenage boy to indecent material and carried out sexual acts in the presence of the boy in the Illawarra area between March and October 2019.

In December 2019, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad started investigating following reports a teenager had been groomed by a man who was known to him.

Following extensive inquiries, detectives arrested Cranny, aged 31, at a home in Gwynneville about 9am on Friday.

Shortly after, a search warrant was conducted at the home, where detectives seized documents.

Cranny was taken to Wollongong Police Station and charged with groom child for unlawful sexual activity, intentional incite child between 10 and 16 years do sexual act to them, and six counts of aggravated intentionally do sexual act with child between 10 and 16 years.

He has been refused bail to appear at Wollongong Local Court later on Friday.

Investigations are continuing.

Cricket Illawarra's Glenn Bridge said the organisation was "disappointed" to hear about the allegation.

"We have the right protocols in place to ensure all of our coaches follow due process, which is required for sporting associations," he said.

"We also expect our clubs to do the same.

"We will be working with the club to help it through the situation."

Mr Bridge said the man accused of the allegations was not directly a coach with Cricket Illawarra but was a coach with an Illawarra club.

"He has had some indirect coaching with Cricket Illawarra teams," he said.

Mr Bridge said every coach was registered with Cricket Illawarra, had working with children checks, and signed off on documents saying they understood the codes put in place by Cricket Australia.

"You can put as many rules in place for coaches but it will never stop someone slipping through the cracks," he said.

"We also respect the person's right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and we will let the court case sort it out."

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Chris Goddard, said police acted "very quickly" on the reports and that led to the arrest on Friday.

He said the motivation of the officers involved in the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad came from their belief that "kids should be able to come forward to their parents or police with information they believe is inappropriate or behaviour that just doesn't feel right".

"And that these matters should be acted upon, investigated quickly and thoroughly to keep the most vulnerable members of the community safe," Det Acting Supt Goddard said.

The commander said police would not discount that there were more victims.

"If people think they are a victim of a crime, we encourage them to come forward," he said.



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