Teacher pleads guilty to indecent act while watching boys shower

Adrian Cooper, 76, of Queens Park, this week pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to one count of both committing an indecent act with a child under the age of 16 and committing an indecent act in the presence of a child under the age of 16.
Adrian Cooper, 76, of Queens Park, this week pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to one count of both committing an indecent act with a child under the age of 16 and committing an indecent act in the presence of a child under the age of 16.

A RETIRED master of Sydney Grammar who masturbated while watching young boys shower in Warrnambool over the Christmas holidays has been placed on an 18-month community corrections order.

Adrian Cooper, 76, of Queens Park, this week pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to one count of both committing an indecent act with a child under the age of 16 and committing an indecent act in the presence of a child under the age of 16.

The CCO involves conditions for treatment and rehabilitation for mental health issues and that Cooper be assessed for an offender's program.

He was also placed on the sex offenders' register for life.

Cooper agreed to the CCO, which may be transferred to NSW, instead of facing immediate imprisonment.

The retired teacher has prior court appearances in 1982 for wilful and obscene exposure in front of three children at Randwick and in 1988 for offensive conduct at Lithgow involving viewing an adult male in a mirror.

Cooper was awarded a medal of the Order of Australia in 1992 in recognition of service to youth.

Defence counsel Michael Turner said his client had been a teacher for about 40 years, he was an exceptional youth leader in he community and he was regarded as trustworthy and honest.

He said Cooper had played 210 games of rugby with Hornsby and was a member of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

In the early 1990s Cooper was involved with two bushwalking parties in the space of a week which had to be rescued.

The National Parks Association of NSW walk leader also has a background in scouting and introduced the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to Sydney Grammar.

Warrnambool police said that during the recent Christmas/New Year period Cooper was in the Warrnambool area to watch speedway and staying in a Port Fairy Caravan Park.

On January 3, he went to the Hopkins River Caravan Park, entered the shower block without permission and had a shower and shave.

He then entered a shower cubicle and watched four boys aged between 11 and 16 years have a shower by watching their reflection in water.

Cooper masturbated while watching the boys.

When a fifth 11-year-old boy entered the shower block, Cooper knelt down to see the by more closely.

He saw the boy's lower body while continuing to masturbate. The boy left the shower block shaken.

Staff were notified and police contacted.

Cooper returned to the shower block without permission the next day. He showered and shave and entered a cubical.

Staff called police and Cooper was arrested.

Cooper admitted to police he was sexually attracted to pubescent boys.

Magistrate Peter Mellas said a psychiatric report indicated that Cooper was a risk of committing similar offences in the future, which brought up sentencing principles of deterrence and protection of the community.

He indicated that Cooper would either have to stay in Victoria for an extended period to complete a community corrections order or be immediately jailed.

In sentencing Mr Mellas said that Cooper's behaviour had a massive negative impact on one of the victims and his family.

He and his siblings are now afraid to be alone in public and the offending has changed the way they view the world.

Mr Mellas said Cooper needed to have a greater appreciation of the impact of his offending and it was clear he had issues that needed to be addressed regarding his own sexuality and the way he related to others.

The magistrate said the CCO was aimed to reduce the chances of Cooper reoffending.

He noted the incident did not involve touching or a direct assault.

Sergeant Chris Asengo, of the Warrnambool police sex offences and child abuse investigation team, said that Cooper had been involved in worrying behaviour while he stayed in the Warrnambool district.

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