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A former English teacher has been accused of grooming four students after an intimate relationship with one of them was uncovered through her diary.
Vasilious Kafataris allegedly sought out female students at three Sydney schools at which he worked over more than two decades, offering gifts and compliments in an attempt to have sex with them.
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The 55-year-old was arrested in May 2021 after a diary entry by one of his students, detailing their relationship and activities, was uncovered by her mother.
Crown prosecutors allege Kafataris also engaged in sexual activity with three other students as their teacher, calling them after hours, offering them gifts such as money and cigarettes, writing them poetry and complimenting their appearance, prosecutor Georgina Namat told jurors on Monday.
In Parramatta District Court, he pleaded not guilty to 16 child abuse charges and one assault charge brought on behalf of the four complainants, who cannot be legally named or identified.
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Kafataris allegedly used a bamboo stick to hit the buttocks of one of the students, who was 15 years old at the time.
The 55-year-old is alleged to have formed intimate relationships with two complainants.
Kafataris allegedly gave one student a card and necklace for her 16th birthday and told her they were “two pieces of a puzzle” and reincarnated soulmates.
“It wasn’t long until the flirting, the phone calls and the gifts escalated,” Namat said.
They visited an adult shop in Bankstown, purchasing lingerie and a sex toy, and met up for sexual intercourse on multiple occasions including one where he begged her, the jury heard.
The other girl would also catch the train to his home for sexual intercourse, telling her parents that she was out studying at the library.
Vasilious Kafataris has pleaded not guilty to 16 child abuse charges and one assault charge. Credit: AAP
CCTV footage to be played to the jury allegedly shows the teacher and student kissing on the lips at his apartment and Bankstown train station.
The student came clean with her parents after her diary was discovered but then changed her story after her teacher told her to deny it, Namat told the jury.
“If anyone knows about what happened between them, he might go to jail and have no job. I don’t want that to happen,” she allegedly told her parents.
Kafataris is also accused of assaulting another student, pushing her up against the wall and putting his face near hers in the classroom after asking if she could defend herself.
The Crown is relying on evidence from former teachers and students to show the 55-year-old had a tendency to be attracted to young females in his class and to act on those urges.
Witnesses are expected to say that he commented on what the girls wore in class, got some students to sit on his desk and gave a back rub to another.
“Your uniform fits your curves, thighs and legs really good,” he allegedly told one student.
On his arrest, police searched his apartment, recovering a photograph of one student he was in a relationship with on his bedside table, and a school uniform skirt hanging up in his wardrobe.
A teacher who worked with him at the time is expected to tell the jury she was also in a sexual relationship with the Bankstown man and that he asked her to wear the school skirt when they slept together.
Kafataris’ barrister Rory McCrudden declined to make opening submissions on behalf of his client who watched from the dock with his eyes closed as details of the charges were read out to jurors.
The five-week trial continues with Justice Craig Everson on Tuesday.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.
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