We all know that a lot of people in the music industry are somewhat sleazy. It comes with the territory, sex drugs and rock n roll remember? But even the sleaziest individual generally has a line they wouldn’t cross. Not John Zimmerman, former tour manager for a well know Australian pop punk band.
Zimmerman has just plead guilty to 87 charges, including sex and child pornography crimes against 55 victims he met online. According to the Herald Sun, Zimmerman stalked and harassed countless Australian teenagers, all under the age of consent, exploiting his access to the band as a bargaining chip for sexual favours.
He would use the popularity of the band with young teenage audiences to his favour by promising his victims free tickets to gigs and backstage passes to meet the band.
The victims were girls aged between 13 and 17 from Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and NSW.
Prosecutor Louisa Dipietrantonio said “Zimmerman would lure the girls by calling them affectionate names like “babe”, “bub” and “gorgeous”. Feeling flattered, the girls would chat with him online with some agreeing, reluctantly, to meet up with him at isolated locations around Melbourne, including schools, car parks and the airport, where Zimmerman would have sex with them.”
“The teenagers were often pressured to meet Zimmerman after he threatened to distribute naked pictures of them either sent to him, or captured by him on his computer’s webcam, to their parents or schools” she told the court.
Girls that refused his advances incurred his wrath, with Zimmerman threatening them and verbally abusing them calling them names such as slut, whore, far, and disgusting. Zimmerman allegedly told girls as young as 14 that he would “treat you like you are living the rock star life”, and when question of the legality of his actions that it was the first time he had “gone so young” and it was “part of promotion for the band”.
Zimmerman has pleaded guilty to charges including rape, sexual penetration of a child, indecent acts, possessing and making child pornography, stalking, and using a carriage service to harass, procure or groom a child for sexual acts.
The pre-sentence hearing is continuing.