Sydney swim instructor Kyle Daniels told his bosses it could have been “an accident” if he inappropriately touched a student before eight other complainants came forward, a court has heard.
- Kyle Daniels has pleaded not guilty to 26 charges relating to nine complainants
- The Crown case is that Mr Daniels had no reason to touch students in the groin region
- Mosman Swim Centre noted his teaching style was “too hands-on” after the first student complained
The 22-year-old is on trial in the NSW District Court after pleading not guilty to 26 charges related to his time as a part-time coach at the Mosman Swim Centre in 2018 and 2019.
During an opening address, Crown Prosecutor Karl Prince told jurors Mr Daniels was regarded by his colleagues as an “enthusiastic” instructor who “made swimming lessons fun”.
In July 2018, a seven-year-old student told her parents she had been touched between the area “below her chest and above her legs” during a lesson, the court heard.
Pool management then watched Mr Daniels’s teaching style and noted he was “too hands-on” and “appeared to be overly energetic”, Mr Prince said.
When Mr Daniels was counselled about his style and the possibility of inappropriate touching was raised, he replied: “I don’t think I have, if I have it could have been an accident.”
The jury was shown a pink post-it note written by another complainant to her mother, after she was allegedly abused in February 2019.
“The reason I didn’t like my swimming lesson was because my teacher touched my …,” the note read, leaving a blank, underlined space for where her body was allegedly touched.
“You’ll hear evidence that the word that should be where that underline is, is vagina,” Mr Prince told the jury.
“During this trial you’ll hear from nine young girls that all say their swimming teacher touched them on or near their genitals.”
Mr Prince said it was the Crown case that Mr Daniels had no reason to touch the students’ groin or genital region.
It was a “deliberate” move with a “clear sexual connotation”, the prosecutor alleged.
In a general memo sent to all staff in mid-2018, pool management warned instructors to have their hands visible at all times during lessons.
In bold and capital letters, it warned: “Do not hold children close to the groin and/or chest area.”
Mr Prince told jurors the first girl who made a complaint told her parents she felt “uncomfortable” during the lessons.
“She told her mother … that she wanted to change swimming days because she didn’t want her teacher to hold her like that again,” he said.
The court heard a six-year-old girl who began lessons with Mr Daniels in December 2018 told police her teacher had “played around” with her genitals as she was sitting on his lap.
Mr Prince said the student thought he was “trying to fix her swimmers” and was left feeling “confused and creeped out”.
The court heard Mr Daniels allegedly touched other students as they were pushing off a wall or diving during lessons.
An eight-year-old complainant thought it must have been an accident when Mr Daniels allegedly touched her, while a 10-year-old girl who was allegedly abused said it left her feeling “a bit weird”.
The court will hear from the parents of the complainants during the trial.
Mr Daniels’s charges include multiple counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10, indecent assault and intentionally touching a child.
Mr Daniels sat quietly in court today with his parents.
The trial, before Judge Kara Shead, is set down for five to six weeks.