South Australian music teacher Trenton John Wickers was today sentenced to 8-10 years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting 4 of his teenage students.
Trenton John Wickers, 49, was found guilty last month of five counts of indecent assault and one count of unlawful sexual intercourse. He committed the offences against four female students, who were aged between 13 and 15, at three different schools where he taught during the 1990s.
During the trial, prosecutor Ryan Williams said Wickers invited three of the four victims to take private music lessons with him outside of class, usually during lunchtimes or after school. “Your honour will hear on their accounts the various acts of sexual offending occurred in their respective music rooms with the curtains or blinds drawn,” he said.
The court heard Wickers preyed upon one of the girls during a school excursion. Mr Williams said Wickers gained his victims’ trust by making them feel “special”, passing them notes and giving them preferential treatment over other students.
“The accused, a young, popular teacher, would engage in personal conversations which built rapport and in the case of three of [the victims] led to a development of a trusting relationship, more like a friend than a teacher,” he said.
This so called teacher showed clear and definite grooming and predatory behaviours, he is most certainly a child abuser who preys upon vulnerable teenage girls who were in his classroom.
One of his brave survivors Anna Bartsch showed true courage to stand up and fight to have the suppression order removed that kept Wickers’ identity a secret, because the world MUST know how much of a predator this guy is.
Wickers groomed his victims before subjecting them to inappropriate hugging, touching and kissing. The court heard all four of his victims agreed Wicker’s conduct was, “brazen sexual offending with a high risk of detection”. Two of the victims reported Wickers to the police at the time of the offending but he was not charged until the allegations resurfaced during the 2015 Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The court heard that in 1996 the Education Department sent Wickers a letter stipulating he was not allowed to conduct one-on-one tuition with students or have contact with students outside of school hours unless accompanied by another staff member.
Despite the police reports and the department’s warning he continued to be employed as a high school music teacher. Sadly we hear of this all the time where despite warnings government departments continue to allow predators to teach kids or be in other roles of trust with children. We hope someone lost their job over this one, but we highly doubt it.
One of his victims, Anna Bartsch, waived a statutory suppression on her identity to speak out in hope it might encourage other victims of sexual offending to come forward.
“I hope this outcome gives people some faith and confidence to come forward. It is a difficult process and often it doesn’t go the way people would like it to but it’s restored my faith in the system in this case,” she said.
Wickers unsuccessfully fought to keep the suppression on his identity, taking the matter to the Full Court of the Supreme Court which shows just how much courage his survivor Anna Bartsh showed to take this as far as it needed to go !
Well done Anna ! Your courage has made a difference and we hope that if there are others out there who were abused by Wickers, they now know they are not alone and can find the strength to seek justice. Thank you
Ms Bartsch made submissions to the court, arguing in favour of the suppression being lifted so Wickers could be publicly named. “I’m pleased the name is out there, I think it will be a name familiar to a lot of people in Adelaide and sadly it won’t come as a huge surprise to a lot of those people,” she said.
“He’s shown no remorse, he’s not acknowledged what impact this has had on the lives of anybody, other than himself, and that’s a sad state of affairs.”
Wickers had his bail revoked earlier this month, and was sentenced today in the South Australian District Court by Judge Simon Stretton. He was given 10 years in prison with an 8 years non-parole period for his deliberate and predatory behaviours and massive betrayal of trust. He betrayed the trust placed in him by the parents of his students, by the school and by the community.
Judge Stretton said ” You used your position as the new, young, hip music teacher in a series of schools to get close to the four young female students in question and sexually offend against them.”
Now before any of Wickers’ fans come on this post and say anything about him being a good teacher, or trying to victim blame, lets just make it very clear…
HE WAS A TEACHER in a position of trust and he was an adult !
The children he sexually abused were just that, CHILDREN.. and as such they could not give consent, and for the record he was in a position of power and HE GROOMED his victims so please don’t bother commenting if you are only here to tell us he was a good teacher……. GOOD TEACHERS DON’T RAPE THEIR STUDENTS ! (No consent equals rape, children cannot give consent) End of story !
Trenton Wickers you are a child predator and should be locked up for a long time, if not for the bravery of one of the girls who survived your cowardly attacks Anna Bartsch, we would not even know your name.
Thank you Anna.
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