These are some of the sports coaches and lifesavers who vilely abused the trust of children in their charge.
These are some of the sports coaches and lifesavers who vilely abused the trust of children in their charge.

Sex pest junior coaches who preyed on our youth

EZRA BARTON BURTT

A sports coach who once ran in a state election, Burtt had sex with a student on school grounds while he was working at a private girls' college.

Burtt, 39, was sentenced in September last year to a maximum of six years' jail for having a sexual relationship with the 15-year-old while he was employed as a volleyball coach at the college in Brisbane's north in 2018.

He pleaded guilty to 28 charges including indecent treatment of a child under 16, maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child, making child exploitation material, unlawful carnal knowledge of a child and supplying liquor to a minor.

He also pleaded guilty to stalking the student when she broke off the four-month relationship.

The court heard Burtt, who once ran for the ALP in the seat of Maryborough in the 2012 state election, was engaged to a woman in the United States when he asked the teenager's mother if he could spend more time with the girl.

 

Despite the mother telling him that it was highly inappropriate, Burtt began seeing the teenager and continued a sexual relationship, on and off the school grounds, for months.

The relationship was exposed in November 2018 when a student saw the pair together and alerted the college.

"The school responded immediately and the defendant was suspended from the school," Prosecutor Sandra Cupina said.

Defence barrister Kate Juhasz said Burtt, who grew up in Bundaberg and coached volleyball at a number of Queensland schools, was "ashamed and humiliated" after his offending came to light and had since lost his job.

Ms Juhasz said he had no history of similar offending and psychologist reports indicated he was a "very low risk" of reoffending.

Burtt will be eligible for parole in September 2022.

 

Brendan Terry outside Brisbane District Court in December, 2019. Picture: AAP/Albert Perez
Brendan Terry outside Brisbane District Court in December, 2019. Picture: AAP/Albert Perez

BRENDAN JOHN TERRY

The Brisbane District Court heard at Terry's sentencing in October last year that he used his position as a swimming coach to gain access to his young female victims.

Some of the girls were younger than teenagers with one girl aged eight and another 10.

Some of the girls were younger than teenagers, with one aged eight and another 10.

A moving statement from one of those innocent victims told how she would never recover and no punishment would be enough.

"He is a predator and he will always be a hideous, depraved, vulgar human being and no amount of time will change those facts," she said in her statement.

Crown Prosecutor Carly Whelan said Terry, now 57, had committed a string of vile offences over a 19-year period.

 

 

The court heard the offending began in 1989 and continued until 2004 before a four-year gap in offending which then began again between 2008 and 2009.

"The offences are a serious breach of trust for the defendant's own sexual gratification," Ms Whelan said.

Terry was convicted of 23 sex crimes including rape and indecent treatment of children relating to his abuse of five young girls, including four who he coached in swimming.

Judge Catherine Muir described Terry's offending as "reprehensible", saying he was "predatory and persistent" and had acted with "such a sense of entitlement"

She sentenced him to a head sentence of seven years and six months' imprisonment for the rape offence.

Terry was also sentenced to three years imprisonment for each of the indecent treatment charges to run concurrently with the rape sentence.

He will be eligible for parole after he has served three years behind bars on June 11, 2023.

Defence barrister Kim Bryson said Terry suffered a difficult childhood and he claimed he was sexually abused by a priest as a boy.

 

Anthony Nelson leaving Southport Courthouse. Picture: Jerad Williams
Anthony Nelson leaving Southport Courthouse. Picture: Jerad Williams

ANTHONY NELSON

The one-time Gold Coast junior soccer coach was jailed for sexually molesting two teenage girls but was allowed to continue working with his under-12 team despite his club knowing about the charges.

To make matters worse, Burleigh Heads Soccer Club gave the paedophile, now 42, a reference to use in court to help have his sentence reduced.

Nelson was coaching the under-12s weeks after pleading guilty in June, 2016 to having forced himself on to two girls, aged 14 and 15, whom he met through the club.

The club excused its actions at the time, saying it knew of the charges but it had not been thought Nelson was a risk with an all-boys team.

Nelson had not been required to hold a blue card as he had a child in the team he was coaching.

Nelson pleaded guilty in Southport District Court in July, 2016 to two charges of indecent treatment and was sentenced to six months in jail.

 

 

The Southport District Court was told Nelson gave the girls cigarettes and alcohol during a slumber party in Varsity Lakes in May, 2015.

In the early hours of the morning, Nelson crept into the bedroom where the first victim, a 14-year-old girl, was sleeping and lay next to her, stroking her face.

He then asked the girl to kiss him before groping her breasts and pinning her hands down before leaving the room.

Nelson then returned later and lay down next to the 15-year-old girl and stroked her back and bottom, before getting on top of her and trying to kiss her, saying she was "sexy" and a "princess".

Nelson appealed the severity of his sentence in August, 2016.

The court heard he was found guilty of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend and assaulting her elderly father in Sydney in 1998.

In June 2013, he was fined $750 fine for assault although no conviction was recorded.

 

Mark Francis Stafford.
Mark Francis Stafford.

MARK FRANCIS STAFFORD

A former Surfers Paradise Surf Lifesaving clubbie, he was given a head sentence of three years in jail after pleading guilty to 31 charges in the Brisbane District Court in June, 2015.

The court heard he sexually abused seven girls aged as young as eight.

His sentence was suspended after 10 months despite committing a string of offences from 2008 until 2013.

Court documents showed that the charges against Stafford related to his involvement with girls from three Gold Coast families.

The court heard that many of the incidents happened at his house on a weekend after he convinced parents to let several girls sleep over.

During the visit Stafford instructed the girls to paint his body while naked, pretended to have sex with a mannequin in front of them and swam with them in the pool while he was naked.

He also served the children alcohol and encouraged them to search for explicit pictures and videos on his computer.

Stafford gave the girls key search words that brought up a pornographic video and while they were watching a couple having sex, he explained what masturbating was and how to do it.

He took pictures of the girls jumping into the pool on the same day, photographing them the moment their T-shirts pushed up so that their bodies were almost naked.

Police found the images in a search of his home.

Stafford also admitted to abusing another one of the other girls in her home, while her parents were in another room nearby.

Other charges related to him touching the girls sexually while showering with them.

The Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club revoked membership immediately after police told the club he was under investigation.

Gold Coast Stingrays in action. Former coach Tony Teasdale was jailed for sex offences.
Gold Coast Stingrays in action. Former coach Tony Teasdale was jailed for sex offences.

TONY TEASDALE

A convicted sexual abuser, Teasdale coached teenagers at the Gold Coast's Stingrays gridiron club for months despite legally being unable to work with children, a court was told last month.

He pleaded guilty in Southport Magistrates Court to an offence relating to a breach of his "negative notice''.

Police prosecutor Joel Sleep said Teasdale worked as a volunteer coach at the club between July and November, 2018.

That was despite him being the holder of a negative notice, issued to him when his blue card was surrendered after he was charged with disqualifying offences.

The court was told Teasdale was convicted in 2019 and was serving a jail sentence of three years and six months for indecent treatment of children.

A negative notice prevents people from working in a regulated business or providing regulated child-related activities. The offence carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

Teasdale, who self-represented, said he was "confused by the terms of the negative notice".

Teasdale was sentenced to three months jail, to be suspended after 24 days for an operational period of 12 months.

 

Originally published as Sex pest junior coaches who preyed on our youth



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