JOHANNES (SHAWN) HELLER
By Jane Sims, The London Free Press – Last Updated: February 18, 2011
A former Dorchester high school teacher was sent to prison for six years yesterday for sex charges involving two male victims.
Johannes (Shawn) Heller, 40, who headed the modern languages department at Lord Dorchester high school, pleaded guilty last December to four charges — two counts of sexual assault, one of sexual interference and one of making child pornography. He no longer works for the school board.
He apologized to the two victims and their families “for breaking the bond of trust you instilled in me,” before he was sentenced by Superior Court Justice Peter Hockin. He vowed to continue with his treatment “so this doesn’t happen again.”
There is a court order protecting the identities of the two victims. One was about 12 years old when years of abuse began. The other was 15.
In his decision, Hockin said Heller was severely abused as a child both sexually and physically. Heller struggles with his sexual identification, suffers from mental illness and has “profound remorse” about his crimes, the judge said. He is also considered to be suicidal.
A detailed psychological examination indicated his interest is in post-pubescent males.
Hockin said Heller’s crimes were “a gross breach of trust.”
Heller used alcohol and pornography to groom his victims and in one case promised money. There was a videotape of an encounter found in his collection of pornography, which included more than 40 images of children.
Hockin said given Heller’s above-average intelligence and his own abuse, he should have known what the emotional injury would be to the boys.
Heller continues to have support from his mother and others. Hockin said by all accounts Heller had been “an otherwise useful and productive member of his community.”
Heller was ordered to provide a DNA sample and was added to the sex offender registry for 20 years.