A top Queensland water polo coach and former teacher at a prestigious Sunshine Coast private school is set to be deported after pleading guilty to almost 20 charges, including 14 counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16.
- Water polo coach Dean Carelse was first arrested in March last year and charged with possessing child exploitation material
- He was highly regarded in the Queensland water polo world and had worked at a prestigious private school
- He pleaded guilty to almost 20 charges
Other charges included possession of child exploitation material, and grooming a child under 16 years old for sex.
Dean Carelse, 41, faced Maroochydore District Court on Wednesday, having already spent 271 days in custody.
He was given a head sentence of two years, suspended after six months for three years.
The court heard after his release, the South African national would be deported by the immigration department.
‘Offending began with 13-year-old boy’
The court heard Carelse was looking after a group of students at a sports carnival during his time as a Sunshine Coast private school teacher when he used his phone to make indecent recordings of the children in their swimming togs in November 2019.
It cost him his job.
Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings said the court needed to denounce the “slippery slope” of offending, with Carelse grooming a 13-year-old boy, the child of friends, “for an extensive period of time” after taking the videos.
Carelse was first arrested in March last year after detectives from the region’s Child Protection Investigation Unit raided his home in Mooloolaba and seized several items.
The court was told child abuse material was found on two mobile phones during the raid.
The court heard the filming of the students were of their genitals in togs, and Carelse had more than 2,000 images of child pornography on the two phones.
He also faced forgery charges, which the court heard related to his forging a signature to make the child he groomed the benefactor of a will he was executive of.
He also made the child he groomed the beneficiary of his superannuation, the court was told.
‘Shameful’ behaviour blamed on loneliness
Defence counsel Ben Powers said his client appeared before the court extremely remorseful and understood he had committed a “gross breach of trust” as a teacher.
He said his client felt the use of child exploitation material was “shameful”.
Mr Powers said Carelse could not fully explain his offending but said it came at a time of loneliness, and said the accused developed “an unhealthy and improper adoration” of the boy he groomed.
The defence submitted Carelse had completed religious-based courses during his almost nine months already spent in custody to ensure he never repeated his behaviour.
Mr Powers said due to Carelse’s prominent career as a coach in South Africa, including his stint as a rugby coach for The Springboks captain, the case had attracted enormous international media attention.
The defence tendered seven newspaper articles as part of evidence, including online threats in comment sections made to Mr Carelse from members of the public.
Mr Powers said regardless of the punishment, it would be tough for his client to go on with his life “because his life was teaching”.
Carelse was supported in the court by his sister.
Disgraced coach’s fall from grace
Carelse was highly regarded in the Queensland water polo world and had previously worked as a teacher and coach for a prestigious Sunshine Coast school.
For legal reasons the ABC has chosen not to name the school.
He had also coached through Water Polo Queensland.
In 2019, he was coaching three separate age groups competing in the state titles in Brisbane.
A day after his arrest, he was suspended from his job at Water Polo Queensland by then-chief executive Melanie Woosnam “because he has been charged with serious criminal offences”.