Damian Scott Wanstall, 47, was charged with trying to procure a 14-year-old girl for sex
A concerned MP sent teachers’ handwritten complaints about a deputy principal’s ‘inappropriate touching of students’ to the Education Minister 18 months before he was arrested for allegedly trying to arrange sex with a teenage girl, but nothing was done.
Damian Scott Wanstall, 47, was arrested by the child abuse and sex crimes squad in Westmead, in Sydney’s western suburbs, about 4.30pm on Monday.
Police allege the educator drove to Westmead to meet the 14-year-old girl for sex less than an hour after leaving Kellyville High School for the day.
He allegedly posted a free online classified ad on the website Locanto seeking sex with ‘legal Indian or Filo [Filipino] teens wanting fun’.
Police then responded to the ad posing as an underage child – agreeing to sex in exchange for cash.
Several teachers from Kellyville High School reportedly complained to their local state MP, NSW Police Minister David Elliott, about his behaviour after first raising their concerns last year.
Mr Elliott then referred the complaints to Education Minister Sarah Mitchell 18 months before Wanstall’s dramatic arrest, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Wanstall is charged with one count of using a carriage service to procure a child under 16 for sexual activity, and one count of using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material
In a letter to Ms Mitchell in July 2019, Mr Elliot voices his concerns about inaction on the matter.
‘I am advised that [the school] has failed to respond to alleged concerns relating to the inappropriate touching of staff and students by Deputy Principal, Damian Wanstall,’ the letter said.
‘This is in light of Mr Wanstall’s conduct being investigated by [the department’s employee performance and conduct directorate] on more than one occasion without any subsequent action being undertaken by [the school] in the interim as is the case with other teachers at the school when being investigated.’
‘[One teacher] provided me with handwritten notes where she has recorded instances of inappropriate touching and comments made by Mr Wanstall… [Another teacher] has also experienced inappropriate touching by Mr Wanstall at her time at the school.’
The NSW Department of Education said the allegations raised by teachers and Mr Elliott were taken seriously and investigated but no child protection concerns emerged.
As news of Wanstall’s arrest filtered through on Tuesday, parents received a letter from Kellyville High School acting principal Mark Burnard.
In the note Mr Burnard said his former deputy – who is also a maths teacher – had been stood down ‘immediately’, before telling parents to call local police if their children told them they had been ‘subject to or witness [to] any potential offences’ at the hands of Wanstall, who has been at the school for a decade.
Parents at Kellyville High School were sent this letter by acting principal Mark Burnard on Tuesday afternoon
Wanstall had allegedly been chatting to a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl on the online classified site Locanto – which is regularly used by sex workers – and told her the sex acts he had planned to perform
‘You may be aware that a person was charged this week with a number of criminal offences that are child related,’ the letter read.
‘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.
‘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.’
Wanstall had allegedly placed an ad on the website that read: ‘Any legal Indian or Filo teens want fun. 40yo aussie daddy sexy play this weekend. Will reward. Can host discreetly Rouse Hill.’
He allegedly told who he though was a was a 14-year-old girl the sex acts he planned to perform and offered to pay her.
But when he allegedly went to meet the girl he was arrested by NSW Police officers who had been posing as the child the whole time.
Wanstall did not appear in Fairfield Local Court on Tuesday and his lawyer made no application for bail.
He is charged with one count of using a carriage service to procure a child under 16 for sexual activity, and one count of using a carriage service to solicit child abuse material.
He will reappear in court next Tuesday, December 15, to make a bail application.
Damian Wanstall allegedly placed this advertisement headed ‘Any legal Indian or Filo teens want fun’
Kellyville High School acting principal Mark Burnard assured ‘ parents that Wanstall (pictured on holiday in New Zealand) had been removed from duties ‘to manage any risk to students’
Wanstall (pictured) did not appear in Fairfield Local Court on Tuesday and his lawyer made no application for bail
Hassan Khan picks his grandson up from Kellyville High every day and said he found it ‘concerning’ that someone in a position of such power could be charged with such a serious offence involving children.
‘It’s very concerning, very concerning. I am really shocked at that,’ he said.
Another parent who did not want to be named said she was worried about keeping her daughter at the school.
‘It is concerning that someone can make it all the way up to deputy principal before they are then charged (with such serious offences),’ she said.
‘I had already considered taking my daughter out at the end of the year, she is going into Year 11, and now I am really thinking about it.
‘My son already goes to a private school and in recent years it has just dropped off a cliff here at Kellyville.’
Wanstall was arrested by police in Sydney’s western suburbs at about 4.30pm on Monday. They allege he believed he was going to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex
Wanstall is led away by police following his arrest on Monday afternoon
But other parents were not so worried by Wanstall’s charges.
‘I’ve seen him around the school, I know who he is,’ one father said.
‘I have no concerns about the school from this, though, the school is great. They are great on things such as cyber bullying, so no complaints with the school.
‘But it is shocking to hear that a member of staff is charged with something like this, I must admit that.’
Neighbours told Daily Mail Australia that Wanstall had moved to Rouse Hill about a decade ago after separating from his wife.
They said a daughter often lived with him and he had an on-off girlfriend in the years since his first marriage ended.
When they saw police at his home on Monday afternoon they thought nothing of it.
‘He’d lived there probably ten plus years, he was divorced and moved there after that, I suppose,’ one neighbour said.
Police will allege the 47-year-old thought he was speaking with a 14-year-old girl when he began discussing the sexual acts he wished to perform on the child
Students will be offered counselling and the charges against Wanstall will be discussed at a whole school assembly on Wednesday
‘I saw the cops here yesterday coming out of the house and I didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t inquire.
‘We’d talk regularly. I knew he was a deputy at Kellyville (High School) so I’m a bit shocked by this.’
After arresting Wanstall on Monday detectives searched his Rouse Hill home and seized several items including a laptop and an electronic storage device.
The deputy principal was then taken to Granville Police Station, where he was charged.
Detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) began speaking to Wanstall online earlier this month.