Principal’s letter after teacher sex charge
The principal at Kellyville High School where a teacher has been charged with child sex offences has urged parents to ask their children if they have been "subject" or "witness" to any potential offences.
Damian Wanstall, the deputy principal at Kellyville High School, was arrested in Westmead on Monday, accused of engaging in sexually explicit conversations with a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl - but instead were detectives from NSW Police.
Police will allege Mr Wanstall posted an ad online seeking sex with legal age teens.
While police do not suggest Mr Wanstall was seeking an underage girl for sex, after detectives started talking to him under the guise of a 14-year-old, he allegedly pursued the conversation knowing she was underage.
Police allege Mr Wanstall organised to meet the teenager in western Sydney, but he was intercepted by officers.
A letter was sent out to parents at Kellyville High School by relieving principal Mark Burnard that said Mr Wanstall had been "immediately" stood down. Mr Wanstall has worked at the school for almost a decade.
"I can confirm that the person who is the subject of the police matter is a deputy principal at our school, however they are no long undertaking their duties," he wrote.
"In circumstances such as these, departmental employees are immediately removed from their duties in order to manage any risk to students.
"It is possible your son or daughter, or a child under your care was a student of the teacher.
"If your child discloses they have been subject to or witnessed any potential offences committed by this person it is requested that you contact Castle Hill police station."
Child abuse and sex crimes squad commander Detective Acting Superintendent Chris Goddard said the accused had made arrangements to meet with the teenager in western Sydney.
He said police were working with the Department of Education.
Officers searched a home in Rouse Hill later on Monday and seized several items, including a laptop and an electronic storage device.
Acting Superintendent Goddard said these would now undergo forensic examination.
"There's nothing at this stage to indicate a pattern of behaviour, but again that will form part of our investigation, bearing in mind this investigation is short in nature … time frame … so we will be going back and exploring other avenues and aspects of his online activities," he said.
Mr Wanstall, 47, was taken to Granville police station and charged with using a carriage service to procure a child under 16 years for sexual activity and using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material.
Detectives behind Strike Force Trawler spend days combing through online content to catch potential offenders, and Acting Superintendent Goddard warned any website could be used to groom a child or exploit children.
"One of the messages I want to portray to parents and members of the community is that there are people out there who are up to no good," he said.
"It's very concerning for any adult to be trying to engage with a 14-year-old for sexual activity.
"These offenders come from all walks of life. There is no stereotypical person who engages online in this space."
Originally published as Principal's letter after teacher sex charge