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Youth worker posed as a teenage girl to abuse boys online

Cameron Osman

A former children’s holiday camp manager who groomed more than 70 teenage boys online by pretending to be a 16-year-old girl has been jailed.

A National Crime Agency investigation identified Cameron Osman, 45, from Southampton, as the person behind online alias ‘Lizzielemon’, which contacted victims on Instagram, MyLol and Love Crush, before moving them on to Google Hangouts, Discord and Skype.

Osman engaged them in sexualised chat revolving around a fantasy online world with Osman pretending to be a teenage girl. He never identified himself, instead telling victims his camera was broken.

Osman would say that ‘Lizzielemon’ was from Bristol or Birmingham, that he had a fetish for dominating boys in school uniform and sports kit, and for conducting teacher/student role plays.

The offending took place between 2020 and 2021.

The NCA tracked Osman down to a friend’s address in Crowborough, East Sussex, in September 2021 and arrested him.

He had resigned from his job at a holiday camp activity centre in Hailsham a few days earlier.

His laptop and mobile phone were seized, and Osman was found to have contacted 76 boys in the UK aged between 12 and 16 during the offending period. All have been safeguarded.

Officers found no evidence of Osman grooming children at the activity centre.

Law enforcement partners in the US uncovered chat logs showing sexualised communication by Osman with underage boys in 27 countries. He also searched online for underage boys in Colombia, where he was planning to visit.

The investigation continued after Osman was released on bail, and he proceeded to offend again, leading to his re-arrest on 27 March this year after a further victim was identified. Osman pretended to be a younger man on this occasion and shared photos of himself.

Osman pleaded guilty to 36 separate charges at St Albans Crown Court on 2 May including attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, sexual communication with a child, and making two category C indecent images of children.

He was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment, plus five years on licence, at the same court today (1 November). Osman was also given an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

In impact statements read before the court, one victim’s mother said: “What happened affected his confidence hugely. He has become a lot more withdrawn.

“He struggles to talk about what happened because he is embarrassed and humiliated, knowing he was fooled by a grown man pretending to be a young girl. He is now at an age where he should be talking to girls and exploring the world, this man has taken that away from him.”

Another parent said her son tried to take his own life due to what happened. She said: “Our boy became withdrawn, lost his appetite, his enthusiasm and positivity. He had bags under his eyes from lack of sleep and would not or could not tell us what was going on.

“People think that online grooming is victimless. I always understood that it was not but only now truly understand this.”

One victim said: “I found out this was an adult man and felt disgusted that I was made to be in this situation. I felt violated, lied to and dirty.

“I just want to erase it from my memory if I can, as it’s vile and wrong.”

NCA Operations Manager Danielle Pownall said: “Cameron Osman pretended to be a teenage girl to prey on boys for his own sexual gratification.

“His offending affected dozens of children, who now have to live with the consequences of his actions. I would like to commend their bravery in coming forward, which has helped put Osman behind bars.

“The NCA will continue to target those engaged in online child sexual abuse and bring them to justice.”

Bethany Raine, Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS’ Organised Child Sexual Abuse Unit, said: “Cameron Osman created fake online personas in order to groom children.

“Posing as a teenage girl he manipulated numerous boys into believing they were in a relationship and engaged them in sexually explicit conversations. Some were tricked into performing sexual activity on camera for Osman’s gratification. His offending continued even while on bail after his initial arrest.

“Our Organised Child Sexual Abuse Unit was set up last year to prosecute child sexual abuse. Through the work of this unit, the CPS is determined to help stop the devastating impact of these crimes on victims.”

The NCA’s CEOP Education programme supports parents, carers, children and the professionals to ensure young people have safe and positive experiences online.

Anyone being pressured or threatened into sending sexual images or videos online should remove themselves immediately from the conversation, not respond further to any contact, and report the matter to police or a trusted adult.

There are a range of resources available on our website, thinkuknow.co.uk, for adults – to support them in navigating the online world and conversations about it with their children, and children themselves – to help build their resilience online and learn what to do if something doesn’t seem right.