Sex offender’s sickening excuse
FORMER private school teacher and convicted sex offender who groomed, molested and repeatedly sexually assaulted his student has arrogantly claimed he is the real victim.
In 2011, Nicolaas Ockert Bester, was sentenced to two years and four months in jail for maintaining a sexual relationship with his 15-year-old maths student at Hobart's prestigious St Michael's Collegiate.
In 2015, after being released from prison, Bester, the then 58-year-old, reoffended by making child exploitation material for which he was sentenced to an additional four months in jail.
That same year, he wrote comments on social media about his sexual relationship with the teenage student, describing it as "awesome" and "enviable" - for another four months in jail.
But despite all this, Bester has arrogantly claimed he is the real victim.
When 60 Minutes reporter Allison Langdon confronted the now 65-year-old, the first time he's ever been challenged on his version of events, he made no apologies for his behaviour.
"The truth of it is, you isolated and groomed a vulnerable young girl," Langdon said as she confronted him outside a hardware store in Tasmania.
"No. Nothing of the kind," he adamantly responded.
"You locked her in a closet."
"Nothing of the kind," he repeated
".. and forced her to undress," Langdon interrupted.
When Langdon said: "All you've done is portray yourself as the victim. What about the real victim, Nicholas? Any thoughts to her?"
Bester hit back saying, "There's that word again, victim. We'll see who's the victim."
Sadly, because of an Australian law, Jane Doe, the now 23-year-old sexual assault survivor, can never have her identity revealed, but he can and he has used it to his advantage.
If Jane Doe does speak out under her real name, this publication and any other publication which names her could be prosecuted and found in contempt of court.
The outdated law which only exists in Tasmania and the Northern Territory won't allow sexual assault survivors to be identified under their real name, even with their full consent.
Bester groomed Jane Doe, a teenage girl from a broken home, who was troubled, anorexic and looking for a father figure. But he claims he is the real victim. Until now Bester has been able to speak, knowing his victim has no power or legal right to defend herself.
He sexually abused Jane Doe at school, in his office, in a hotel room and even in a church.
But a year ago she made the brave decision that she was finally ready to waive her right to anonymity. She appeared on 60 Minutes, with her identity blurred, speaking out in the hope of challenging the stigma around sexual assault.
"It (law) adds to that feeling of I have to be ashamed of my story, of my past which shouldn't be the case," Jane Doe said.
"The fact that I can't take control of my own story, that's frustrating and it's frustrating to think of all the other cases of victims who can't speak up."
Until now Hollywood had never heard of Hobart, but Jane Doe's story has reached the ears of those behind Me Too - a global movement to stamp out sexual harassment.
They're now determined to help change the law in Tasmania, supporting a new campaign hashtag #LetHerSpeak - to allow sexual assault survivors speak out if they so choose.
Actress Alyssa Milano, who has been a central figure of "Me Too" when her innocent tweet over the Harvey Weinstein scandal ignited the movement, plans to share the hashtag #LetHer Speak with her three and a half million followers.
"Thank you, thank you for being brave, thank you for fighting, and through her voice she will give a voice to the voiceless," Milano said on 60 Minutes, to Jane Doe.
Since bravely speaking out about her story, Jane Doe says she feels empowered by the support she's receiving from Hollywood to Hobart.
"It's all very surreal. I'm overwhelmed by the support for this cause, a little taken aback, but in the most positive way," she said.
"It gives me immense hope that we will be able to affect change on a larger scale. I keep thinking of all the boys and girls out there who don't have the same resources and how honoured I am to be fighting this fight for them so that one day they do."
"A lot of people have been fighting for this behind the scenes for a very long time [to help me speak out and tell my story]."
"To see all of this finally come to fruition, and have it backed by so many wonderful, inspiring people, is really exciting."
News.com.au recently reached out to the Tasmanian Attorney-General, Elise Archer, who said the "Tasmanian Government is considering Section 194K (the law in question) to ensure that it appropriately protects the rights of all victims of sexual assault."
"We are extremely mindful that care must be taken in this area of law, as it is important that any reform strikes the appropriate balance between protecting victims of sexual assault and the paramount public interest in open justice.''
If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
To support the campaign, sign and share the petition here.