Dance teacher Nigel Major-Henderson sentenced for vile FB messages to teens

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A sex pest dance teacher has walked free despite sending a set of foul sexualised Facebook messages to two vulnerable 15-year-old girls.

Former high school dance teacher Nigel Major-Henderson pleaded guilty to four counts of communicating to procure a child for sexual activity after the police arrested him for sending obscene digital messages to two teen girls in late 2015 and early 2016 in Adelaide.

In one message he sent to a girl identified by the court as M, Major-Henderson asked her whether she liked the size of her breasts, whether she used them and whether they were annoying.

“Just wear bras, f**k tops, hahaha,” he said.

In messages to a second girl, identified as J, over Christmas in 2015 he asked questions with sexual content in them.

“You turned the discussion to what you described as quote, ‘weird sex things’ end quote’,” South Australian District Court Judge Kristopher Handshin said on Wednesday in his sentencing remarks.

“In was in this context you sent the charged communications to J.

“You told her because of the number of things you had dealt with in the preceding weeks it was helpful for you to be able to get things off your chest by swearing.

“The questions you posed to J were again very childish but they also contained a completely inappropriate sexual inflection and by your plea, you acknowledge that your intention in sending these messages was to have J submit to sexual activity in the form of an electronic communication about sexual matters.”

The police arrested Major-Henderson in 2020 and he pleaded guilty to four counts of communicating to procure a child for sexual activity.

“Your offending is very serious,” Judge Handshin said.

“You sent grossly inappropriate messages to two teenagers with a view to having them discuss matters of a sexual nature with them.

“Your acutely inappropriate messages were sent when they were at an impressionable and vulnerable age and had the potential, and did in fact, make them feel awkward, uncomfortable and violated.”

In a victim impact statement from M’s mother, she told the court how Major-Henderson’s offending had turned a happy child into “a cautious, anxious and often depressed young adult.”

The court heard Major-Henderson did not try to physically contact either J or M.

“Your communications did not involve discussion about explicit or graphic sexual activity that you wanted to engage in with the victims,” Judge Handshin said.

“But each of the charged communications plainly involved the unlawful overstepping of boundaries and decorum and appropriate behaviour by an adult.”

Major-Henderson was 28 years old at the time of his offending.

He has been on bail since his arrest and the court heard he did not have any prior criminal history and had not reoffended since his arrest.

The now 36-year-old man sat in the dock and wept throughout proceedings.

The court sheriffs offered him tissues to wipe his eyes and at one point appeared to offer him a vomit bag, which he breathed into.

He wore glasses and sported a scruffy head of hair with a bald patch at the top.

His family appeared in court with him and at times let out sighs of apparent disgust as Judge Handshin read out the details of Major-Henderson’s offending.

Major-Henderson was employed at the Department of Education at the time of his arrest.

The court heard a psychologist had concluded Major-Henderson was not a pedophile.

Judge Handshin, in delivering his sentence, said Major-Henderson’s case was a “finely-balanced” one and he oscillated between prison and a good behaviour bond.

The Judge decided to sentence Major-Henderson to a two-year bond under supervision from the Department of Corrections, citing his lack of any criminal history, his “law-abiding” life since his arrest, his preparedness to undertake “extensive” psychotherapy, his “genuine and deep sense of regret and remorse”, the negative effect a prison term would have on his family’s health and the conclusion he did not pose a “material risk to the community”.

“You have avoided going to jail by the finest of margins,” he said at the end of the sentence.

“You must ensure you strictly obey all the conditions of the bond.”

Major-Henderson declined to make any statement after leaving the court.

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