7 June 2024

Female former basketball coach charged over alleged sexual abuse of teenage player

| Claire Fenwicke
Jesamine Wheeler with her defence lawyer

Jesamine Wheeler (pictured with her legal counsel) has been accused of sexual offences from 2009 against a then-15-year-old girl. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses alleged child sexual abuse. The complainant has given media permission to identify her alleged abuser.

Former Canberra basketball coach Jesamine Wheeler has been charged with several offences over the alleged sexual abuse of a then-15-year-old girl.

The now 39-year-old met the junior player when she was her coach for ACT representative basketball.

According to court documents, the pair met in 2005 when the complainant was 11 years old.

It’s alleged a “physical relationship” began between the two in 2009, and resulted in Ms Wheeler sexually abusing the complainant on four occasions, including during an interstate competition.

The alleged victim approached ACT Policing in 2020 and it was determined no charges would be laid.

The court documents stated that she later made a report to Basketball ACT, which commenced an investigation into alleged inappropriate conduct. This resulted in a five-year ban.

This decision was appealed and referred to Basketball Australia for investigation.

“As a result … Basketball Australia banned the defendant from having any involvement in basketball for life,” the court documents stated.

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The police investigation was re-opened in December 2023, in consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions, as a result of the Sexual Assault (Police) Review.

This came to a head on Thursday (6 June) when members of the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Team (SACAT) team executed a search warrant at Ms Wheeler’s Harrison home, where she was placed under arrest.

She was formally charged with four counts of sexual intercourse with a young person under 16 years, alleged to have occurred in 2009, when she appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday (7 June).

Ms Wheeler was also handed charges of choking another person and possessing an offensive weapon with intent related to the same complainant but from alleged incidents between 2013 and 2014.

She was granted bail to return to court on 26 July.

As the investigation continues, anyone with information relating to this matter has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 , quoting reference number 7767511. Information can be provided anonymously.

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An ACT Policing statement outlined there’s no statute of limitations for sexual offences in the ACT.

“It doesn’t matter how much time may have passed. It is never too late to report,” it stated.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, you can report to police by attending a police station or calling ACT Policing Communications on 131 444. You can also submit an online report for historical sexual assault for incidents that occurred more than six months ago.

The ACT Policing website has a dedicated section for victims of sexual assault, with information and a range of advice and details of support options.

If this story has raised any concerns for you, 1800RESPECT, the national 24-hour sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line, can be contacted on 1800 737 732.

Help and support are also available through the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on 02 6247 2525, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT 02 6280 0900, and Lifeline on 13 11 14.

In an emergency, call Triple Zero.

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