-  # Sygmund Sokolowski
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SYGMUND LEON SOKOLOWSKI
54 yrs old (2012)
VIC - Carlton North
Convicted in April 2013 of engaging in child-related employment. Current
charges relate to umpiring an under 18s football match in
Parkville in May 2012. To be updated.
Sentenced 11-4-2008, in the Melbourne Magistrate's Court, to a 3 month intensive
corrections order - 120 hours of community service.
Sygmund Sokolowski - Melbourne music teacher/ Football umpire. Pleaded guilty
in the Melbourne Magistrates Court (2008) to 8 counts of
indecent assault of a child under 16,
1 count of indecent assault of a 16 or 17-year-old under his care, and 1 of indecent assault.
Sex offender convicted after umpiring junior football game
A registered sex offender was sent to umpire a junior football match despite the league's organisers knowing he was prohibited from
doing so, a court has heard.
Sygmund Sokolowski, a former school music teacher, was placed on the sex offender register for life in 2008 after admitting to
groping and inappropriately touching 10 teenage students.
Last week, the 55-year-old was convicted of engaging in child-related employment by umpiring an under 18s football match in
Parkville on May 12 last year.
Victorian Amateur Football Association general manager of umpire operations Brian Goodman told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
he “slipped up” by sending Sokolowski to game between University High School-Victoria Uni and Werribee football clubs.
“It was a bad error on my part,” Mr Goodman said.
He said he had avoided sending the skilled umpire to junior games since VAFA became aware of his sex offender status in 2008.
Sokolowski told the court he didn’t realise it was an under-18s game, despite checking the match information on the internet days before.
Of his prior offending, he said: “I don’t want to go into specifics about pleading guilty to acts I didn’t commit.”
Defence counsel Ian Polak argued there was no case to answer because most of the North Carlton man’s umpiring work was with senior
teams, so it could not be considered child-related employment.
The court heard children under the age of 18 regularly played in seniors’ games.
Sokolowski said he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong because there were lots of people around, so he was not unsupervised.
Magistrate Catherine Lamble said he did engage in child-related employment, even if the information on the VAFA website did not
clearly state it was an under-18s game.
"Nevertheless I find at least when he began umpiring the game he was aware he was engaging in employment with young people
under the age of 18," she said.
Ms Lamble said the offence was not a trifling matter, but it didn't warrant punishment beyond a conviction.
Sokolowski said he still worked as a music teacher, orchestra member, conductor, cricket umpire and football umpire, though
no longer for VAFA.
Ms Lamble also lifted a suppression order banning the publication of Sokolowski’s name, finding there was community benefit to
the reporting of this type of breach.
Herald Sun (2-4-2013)
Indecent piano teacher avoids jail
An accomplished Victorian musician and teacher who admitted groping 10 teenage schoolgirls will never teach children
again, a Melbourne magistrate said today.
Sygmund Leon Sokolowski, 50, who pleaded guilty to indecent acts and assaults on the girls during lessons at two
Melbourne schools and at his home, will be listed on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life, the
Melbourne Magistrate's Court was told.
Sokolowski, a trombonist who has played with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and taught music at some of the city's
top schools, was today ordered by Magistrate Sue Wakeling to serve a three-month intensive corrections order and
complete 120 hours of community service for inappropriately touching the girls between 2003 and 2005.
In sentencing, Ms Wakeling said Sokolowski's actions had been unacceptable and criminal.
The incidents included squeezing the female students' breasts and touching their buttocks, often under the guise that
he was checking their breathing or posture.
Sokolowski, of Carlton North, also kissed several of the girls on the forehead, cheek, mouth and neck, and ran his finger
up and down another student's back, fiddling with her bra strap.
In one incident in June 2003, he told one of the victims, who was 14 at the time, "You've got really great boobs, you should
wear low cut tops to show them off," prosecutor Sean Van Geyzel told the hearing this week.
On another occasion, Sokolowski put his head in the lap of one of his music students during a lesson and congratulated her on
her performance, saying "Well done, lovey."
In sentencing, Ms Wakeling said she took into account Sokolowski's age and good standing in the community.
She also acknowledged the contribution that Sokolowski had made to Victoria's music community, and said as a result
of his guilty plea he would lose a vocation and livelihood "that has been of overwhelming significance in your life over many years."
But Ms Wakeling said Sokolowski had exploited the girls and seemed to be under the impression his conduct was warranted.
"There is and continues to be some suggestion that your conduct was warranted in some way, due to the instruction you
were providing to them in singing or other music pursuits," she said.
Sokolowski's actions were "unambiguous", "unwarranted", and of a sexual nature, Ms Wakeling said.
His actions had confused the girls, who found it difficult to accept that their teacher would act that
way towards them, she said.
"It is clear you were able to continue your conduct because of their naivety and trust in you," Ms Wakeling said,
adding that this amounted to "significant abuse."
Ms Wakeling said Sokolowski had continued to display a lack of insight into the impact his actions had on the young women.
The Age (11-4-2008)
Teacher guilty of indecent assault
It was a sordid way to fall from grace for a Melbourne music teacher and trombonist who has performed with greats
including Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and Sammy Davis jnr.
Sygmund Leon Sokolowski yesterday admitted he had groped and inappropriately touched 10 teenage students.
Sokolowski, 50, of Carlton North, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to eight counts of indecent
assault of a child under 16, one count of indecent assault of a 16 or 17-year-old under his care and one of indecent assault.
The victims were all high school students learning brass instruments or singing from Sokolowski at Berwick and
Emerald secondary colleges, or through private lessons at his home between 2003 and 2005.
Police prosecutor Sean Van Geyzel said Sokolowski had assaulted the girls during classes. He said Sokolowski had
touched his students on the upper thigh, breasts and pubic area through their clothes, usually under the guise
of "checking their breathing".
"He told (one of the victims), 'You've got really great breasts, you should wear low-cut
tops to show them off'," Senior Constable Van Geyzel told the court.
He said on one occasion Sokolowski had suggested a private student who was feeling sick should lie down in
his bed, but when she refused and lay on the couch he came up to her and kissed her on the face, neck and mouth.
John Willis, for Sokolowski, said his client had grown up in Europe and was a "continental, touchy-feely, enthusiastic and passionate teacher".
He said Sokolowski accepted his actions were "clearly overstepping the mark", but that he was naturally affectionate.
Senior Constable Van Geyzel requested he receive an immediate jail term.
Mr Willis asked that Magistrate Sue Wakeling put him on a community order. Sokolowski will be sentenced tomorrow.
The Age (10-4-2008)
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