National

Bail for teacher accused of targeting kids

By AAP Newswire

A Melbourne primary school teacher who allegedly posed as a 12-year-old girl on Instagram to trick students into sending him explicit pictures and videos has been bailed.

Suspended teacher Timothy Cordova allegedly exploited 71 children while pretending to be a girl named "Matilda Roberts".

Cordova, 25, allegedly admitted to creating the Instagram account, but said it was because he'd never had a girlfriend and wanted lesbians to send him nudes.

Most of Cordova's alleged victims are current or former students of St Mark's Primary Catholic School at Dingley Village, where he previously taught.

He was bailed by Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday, facing 31 charges including soliciting, producing, possessing and transmitting child abuse material.

The charges date back to February and also include using a carriage service to groom and indecently communicate with a child.

Prosecutors told the court Cordova had admitted to posing as a girl online, but said it was because he wanted to communicate with lesbian adults.

Folders named "boys on boys" and "boy sex duo" were allegedly found on his computer.

He was also allegedly caught with 16,000 child abuse images on his phone, but police said these were unrelated to the charges against him.

Cordova taught across three suburban schools including at Dingley Village and also worked as a private tutor.

He was bailed to live with his uncle, a former police officer, who told the court he would ensure his nephew wouldn't have any access to the internet.

He was also ordered to undergo immediate psychological treatment, and banned from leaving the house unsupervised, communicating with anyone under the age of 18, or going within 200 metres of any kindergarten, primary or secondary school.

Prosecutors wanted Cordova to remain locked up to protect children.

Magistrate Luisa Bazzani was satisfied strict bail conditions would be enough. She also scrapped a suppression order restricting reporting on the case.

Cordova is due back in court in October for a committal mention.