A teacher has been arrested at a top private school in front of students and staff over allegedly sending sexually explicit text messages to someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl.
Alexander David Simpson, 39, was taken into custody yesterday afternoon as school finished at the Summer Hill campus of Trinity Grammar School, in Sydney’s inner-west, where students pay fees of up to $34,770 a year.
The secondary school English teacher was taken to Burwood police station and charged with “use carriage service to send indecent material to person under 16”, and “use carriage service to solicit child abuse material”.
He was refused bail and will appear at Burwood local court today.
“Police will allege in court that the
man believed he was speaking to a 13-year-old girl and engaged in conversations
about sexually explicit acts and sent sexually explicit images,” NSW Police
said in a statement.
“It will also be alleged that the man
was engaging in these conversations on his mobile phone while at work”.
Police executed a search warrant at Simpson’s home in Padstow Heights, seizing
electronic devices and clothing following his arrest.
He was refused police bail and will face Burwood Local Court today.
The headmaster of the single sex boys’ school moved to reassure parents there was no suggestion any of their children had been mistreated.
“I am writing to inform you that on Thursday, 27 August, a member of the teaching staff at the Summer Hill campus was placed under arrest by police from the Child Abuse Squad,” Headmaster Tim Bowden said in a statement to parents yesterday.
“I am relieved to be able to share that the police have informed me there is no suggestion that offences have been committed against students of the school.”
Police today revealed earlier this month, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit began engaging online with Simpson during an ongoing investigation known as Strike Force Trawler, targeting abuse and exploitation of children facilitated through the internet and related telecommunications devices.
Simpson, who has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Teaching and has been teaching at the school since 2015 is involved in multiple co-curricular activities, including as senior member of staff in the school’s Cadet Unit.
He is also a Year 8 house tutor and was a member of the Year 10 Charity and Community Committee according to the school’s annual publication.
Simpson, who was also a leader in a school voluntary christian group, was arrested, above, about 3pm yesterday.
The school came under scrutiny in 2019 after Daily Mail Australia revealed it spent $1 million in school funds fighting a compensation case over a paedophile teacher.
Neil Futcher, 70, a former teacher at the school was jailed for 18 years in 2016 for abusing six boys as young as 11 between 1974 and 1981.
The school has denied responsibility for Futcher’s abuse, claiming
it took place during extra-curricular activities including school camps.
The matter is still in the NSW Supreme Court.
Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.