A South Australian high school music teacher has been sentenced to a decade behind bars for sexually abusing teenage girls at three different schools during the 1990s.
- Trenton John Wickers was a music teacher at three SA schools in the 1990s
- He was found guilty of sexually abusing four female students
- He was sentenced to at least eight years in jail
Trenton John Wickers, 49, was last month found guilty of four counts of indecent assault and one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a child.
He committed the offences against four female students, who were aged 13, 14 and 15.
His identity was revealed for the first time yesterday.
District Court Judge Simon Stretton today categorised Wickers as a “serious repeat offender” and sentenced him to 10 years in jail with a non-parole period of eight years.
“Your offending represents an appalling breach of the trust proposed in you as a school teacher,” he said.
“You used your position as the new, young and hip music teacher in a series of schools to get close to the four young female students in question and sexually offend against them.”
The court heard Wickers invited three of his victims to take private music lessons with him during lunchtimes or after school.
It heard Wickers told one of his 13-year-old victims the doors and windows were covered to “help her focus”.
“You started to touch her, first by plaiting her hair, and over time the touching became more personal — it involved massaging her back and kissing her neck,” Judge Stretton said.
The court heard Wickers groomed his victims and made them feel “special” before subjecting them to sexual abuse.
Abuse had long-lasting impact on victims
Judge Stretton said Wickers’ offending seriously impacted his victims — some for the rest of their lives.
“At a very formative and vulnerable stage of their young lives you took advantage of each of them for your selfish, prurient purposes,” he said.
“Your actions in having unlawful vaginal sexual intercourse with [one of the victims] was particularly reprehensible.”
Outside court, one of Wickers’ victims, Anna Bartsch, said she was pleased with the sentence and thought it sent a strong message to other offenders.
“This is a series of very serious crimes … people might think they can get away with these things for a long time and this has certainly proven that’s not the case,” she said.
“The guilty verdict was justice, lifting the suppression [on his identity] was very important to me, and today is a very fulfilling piece of closure.”
Ms Bartsch said she waived the statutory suppression on her identity in the hope it would encourage other victims of sexual offending to come forward, even if many years had passed.
“I hope this case gives people confidence to come forward,” she said.
The court heard Wickers was employed as a teacher until relatively recently and had also worked for TAFE SA as the head of music technology with the SA Board of Education.
His sentence was backdated to when he was taken into custody two weeks ago.