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Drama teacher sentenced to seven years jail after “touching” students

Written by on May 9, 2024

A head drama teacher who sexually touched two students before being caught with almost 18,000 abuse files involving children as young as nine has been sentenced to a minimum of seven years and three months in jail.

Aaron Worwald, 48, was sacked as the head of creative arts at Jamison High School in Sydney’s west in 2022 after his “inappropriate” conduct with three students was reported to police.

The youngest of his victims was sexually touched by Worwald during an after-school class.

In handing down his sentence in the NSW District Court on Thursday, Judge Graham Turnbull SC called his offending “appalling”.

“What kind of man would do this,” the judge said.

“It’s an environment with an expectation of safety.”

The court heard how during the after-school class, Worwald instructed the young girl to try on a costume that was too large for her. He then demanded she “drop it”, exposing her bra and underwear. He then pulled it back up over her body while touching her waist and breasts.

“This was her teacher and she’d been physically exposed,” the judge said.

“It’s a breach of trust and authority.”

Another victim was touched on the waist and breasts by Wormald after he kissed her on the forehead in front of another teacher while congratulating her on her performance in a play.

Later he pulled her in to kiss her again before asking to collect his lunch order from the canteen.

The third victim had to get Wormald to sign a form to drop his class. The court heard how Wormald pulled her towards him so she was “almost sitting on him” and held her with force, asking: “You’re not dropping it because of me are you?”

She also told police Worwald asked about her partner’s penis size and would talk about sex and nudity in class “almost every day”.

“It is serious conduct”, the judge said.

“He was supposed to be supporting and nurturing children.”

The court also heard how Worwald created multiple fake Snapchat and Instagram accounts to elicit sexual material from both young girls and boys.

In one case, Worwald convinced a 12-year-old girl to send explicit images of herself via Snapchat.

He told another victim – who was 14 – that he was a “good artist” and asked her to “send nudes” so he could sketch her.

When she refused, Mr Worwald told her he was “crying” as he had spent $400 on equipment on his way home from school.

“They thought they were dealing with their peers and other teenagers rather than a 40-year-old man,” the judge said.

During a search of his home, police found a total 17,693 child abuse images and videos across various electronic devices. The videos involved children as young as nine being sexually assaulted by adult men. 

Wormwald wiped his eyes with a handkerchief as the sentence was handed down.

“It is very confronting reading,” the judge said.

Wormwald was given a 25 per cent discount on his sentencing for entering pleas of guilty to the charges at an early stage.

The court heard how Worwald was living in “squaller” and was drinking significant amounts of alcohol at the time of offending.

He was given a total non-parole term of imprisonment of seven years and three months, with a head sentence of 11 years and eight months.

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The sentence will be backdated to June 29, 2022 when he was first taken into custody.

He will be first eligible for parole on September 29, 2029 with his full term to expire on February 29, 2034.

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