John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School in Mirrabooka. Picture: Google Earth Streetview.

Teacher sacked following child exploitation offences

Principal Jason Bartell said the school was shocked by the charges laid against against a teacher who was arrested on school grounds.
December 7, 2023
Gera Kazakov

DETECTIVES from the child exploitation operations squad have arrested a 51-year-old teacher in Mirrabooka during school hours after executing a search warrant at his Wattle Grove home.

The arrest took place at John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School last Thursday, where police charged Roberto Charles Messina with intent to procure a person believed to be under 13 years for sexual activity, alongside possessing child exploitation material and distributing child exploitation material.

His charges do not relate to any of the of the students at the school.

Detectives allege that Mr Messina “utilised various online sites to engage with a person he believed was a young boy,” and further allege that “these online conversations were of a sexually explicit nature and that he sent images of a sexual nature.”

In a statement, John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School said it has terminated Mr Messina’s employment after he was charged by police.

The school said Mr Messina was employed since January 1, 2008, and had provided verification of approved Working With Children Checks in 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022.

They said Mr Messina provided verification of his registration to the Western Australian College of Teaching, was a member of the Teacher Registration Board of WA, and also provided a clear criminal check at the time of his employment.

The school said he also passed criminal checks in 2009 and 2010.

John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School principal Jason Bartell said, “the school was shocked by the charges and appreciated the work of investigators in this very serious police matter.”

Mr Messina was previously employed at Guildford Grammar School and was stood down in 2005.

Echo News is not suggesting that him leaving the school had anything to do with his current alleged offences.

Guildford Grammar School was contacted for comment.

Mr Messina’s did not apply for bail and will have his next appearance in Armadale Magistrates Court January 12.

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