Former Campbelltown teacher jailed for sexual abuse of students

Shane Andrew Matthews has been jailed for the abuse of students. Photo: Seven News
Shane Andrew Matthews has been jailed for the abuse of students. Photo: Seven News

A former Sydney teacher has been jailed for at least 12 years for the sexual abuse of 15 male students.

Shane Andrew Matthews, 31, who taught at Wattle Grove Public School, and later became the assistant principal at Woodlands Road Public School, was sentenced on Monday to a maximum of 18 years in jail.

Matthews previously pleaded guilty to 33 offences, including persistent child sexual abuse, indecent assault and procuring a child for unlawful sexual activity committed largely between 2012 and 2015.

The popular teacher's sentencing before Judge Jennifer English in Campbelltown District Court came months after an emotional sentencing hearing in which his victims spoke of the fear and humiliation they felt as a result of being abused.

"The opportunity to be young and live without fear and be able to trust people was taken from me. I am a different person now," one victim said during a court hearing in May.

"You are supposed to be safe at school, and I was let down."

The boy said he had always worked best in class when he sat next to the teacher. But when Matthews moved both their desks to the back of his classroom he had tried to move away.

"I felt scared and frustrated. I didn't know what to do and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to stop it happening.

"I started to think to myself, is this just what happens? Is this normal?"

Another boy said he sometimes acted out because he needed to release "the crazy shit that's going on in my head.

"Don't ask me to explain it, I can't.

"I don't trust anyone, I feel ripped off all the time and I don't know why."

The boy said he had trusted Matthews had wanted to help him, but now knew he had helped only for his own gratification.

"Mr Matthews destroyed that innocence in me and I don't know how to get it back.

"I knew what you were, my voice just wasn't strong enough."

A third victim said he had trouble sleeping around the time he was abused because he worried about what Matthews would do to him next.

When he did get to sleep, he would often wake screaming.

"It made me angry it happened to other kids as well."

Another boy spoke of his anxiety and thoughts of self-harm.

"This has made me feel insecure about myself; he made me feel like a nobody."

Story appeared first on The Sydney Morning Herald