An AFL junior coach charged with grooming a 13-year-old boy online has been granted bail but remains suspended from his job.
Mark Heaney, 42, appeared in Coffs Harbour Local Court on Wednesday charged with a number of offences.
Heaney is the Northern NSW AFL regional manager, covering an area from Taree to Yamba and inland to the northwest tablelands, in a role that has included coaching young players.
He allegedly met the 13-year-old earlier this year when the boy was playing Australian Rules.
The boy informed his parents that he had an online conversation during which a man allegedly made sexually explicit comments and sent inappropriate images.
Detectives immediately commenced a covert investigation.
Police allege Heaney later engaged in sexually explicit online discussions with a detective pretending to be the boy.
He was charged with using a carriage service to groom a person under 16 and four counts of using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to persons under 16.
Police seized a computer, a mobile phone and electronic storage devices during raids on his home and office.
The AFL released a statement on Wednesday saying Heaney had been "immediately stood down pending the outcome of court proceedings".
"We are shocked and appalled by the allegations," a spokesman said.
"AFL NSW/ACT is urgently seeking further information and is making arrangements to provide support and counselling for any families affected by this news."
Heaney's matter will come before the same court on July 9.
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