A WA teacher who secretly filmed his young students changing into their school uniforms after swimming lessons has been jailed for two years and three months.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a “well regarded” teacher when he hid a pen camera inside a bomber jacket and filmed female students undressing in a disabled toilet.
He filmed the girls in March 2014 and again in March last year, with the victims aged between nine and 14.
The victims were captured naked and in their underwear. Some of the girls could not be identified.
The man, who pleaded guilty to 42 counts of indecently recording or attempting to indecently record a child, was caught when another teacher found the device and recognised him on the footage.
When the man realised the device was missing, he fled and evaded police until his arrest five days later.
During a sentencing hearing in the District Court today, Judge Andrew Stavrianou read excerpts of a nine-page letter penned by the man while he was on the run.
“I expect to burn in hell for my sins,” he said.
“I want you to know this behaviour was impulsive and was not long-term.
“I got no pleasure for what I did. I felt repulsed by it.”
An earlier hearing was told the man had become severely depressed after an investment went wrong during the global financial crisis, which was made worse when he was injured in a serious cycling accident.
He told a psychologist he acted out of a “desire to self-harm” because he “wanted to get caught and be punished”.
Judge Stavrianou said he accepted the man had psychological problems that reduced his moral culpability and acknowledged he had no relevant criminal history and was of previous good character.
But Judge Stavrianou said his offending was too serious to warrant anything but an immediate term of imprisonment.
“It was a significant breach of trust,” he said.
“The students in this case had a right to expect when they went into that change room they would be absolutely safe.”
The man’s sentence was backdated to September 10 and he was made eligible for parole.