Dramatic details have emerged about the arrest of a high school maths teacher accused of sending explicit messages to a young boy.
Roberto Charles Messina, 51, was fired following his arrest at John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School in Mirrabooka, north of Perth, last week.
Messina appeared at Armadale Magistrates Court on Friday accused of attempting to procure a child under 13 for sexual activity.
A teacher at the school has described the details of Messina’s shock arrest, claiming it took place within the sight of a group of students.
Roberto Charles Messina (pictured), 51, was fired following his arrest at John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School in Mirrabooka last week over child exploitation charges
The teacher, who has requested to remain anonymous, said that Year 7 students had been sitting in an assembly in the central quadrangle being given end of year certificates.
She said police entered the school’s maths office which was situated nearby and that ‘all the kids were watching it unfold in front of them’.
The teacher claims police brought Messina out past the students to the front of the school.
‘The students then filed past, going back to their classrooms and they saw the police speaking to [Messina]’, she said.
‘They looked out of the classroom window to see the head of maths get handcuffed and put in a car’.
The teacher said the situation was ‘a lot for the students to cope with’.
‘I have never heard of a teacher being arrested at school before, especially in the middle of the day when the lessons are in full swing,’ she said.
Western Australian Police said detectives had searched Messina’s Wattle Grove home and seized various electronic devices.
Police allege Messina used a number of online sites to speak with someone he believed was a young boy and that these conversations were of a sexually explicit nature, including sharing sexual images.
Messina has been charged with intent to procure a person believed to be under 13 years for sexual activity, possessing child exploitation material and distributing it.
A teacher at the school has claimed Messina’s arrest took place in front of a group of students
The married father’s charges do not relate in any way to students at the Anglican school he has been teaching at for the last 16 years.
It has also been revealed that Messina’s had taught at one of Perth’s most elite private schools in the early 2000s, the West Australian reported.
In March 2005, Messina was suspended before leaving Guildford Grammar School, where he was believed to have worked as a Year 8 mathematics teacher.
Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting Mr Messina’s suspension from Guildford Grammar School was related to the matters over which he is currently charged.
John Septimus Roe said in a statement that it had taken swift action after learning of the charges.
‘John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School has taken immediate action to terminate the employment of a 51-year old member of staff charged by Police, on 31 November 2023 with child exploitation offences,’ the school said.
‘The staff member held a valid Working With Children Check – a compulsory screening by the WA Government, and was a member of the Teacher Registration Board of WA’.
The school said Messina had completed the relevant Child Safe induction course for staff and was bound by the Staff Code of Conduct.
The school said Messina’s employment was terminated upon learning of the charges
Principal Jason Bartell said the school was shocked by the charges and appreciated the work of investigators ‘in this very serious matter’.
He also said students and staff members had been offered counselling.
Messina did not apply for bail and will remain in custody until his next court appearance on January 12.
A WA Government spokesperson said they were unable to provide comment as the matter was before the courts.
‘The paramount consideration is the best interests of the children,’ they said.