Australia: 31-year-old teacher avoids jail for having sex with 16-year-old boy
A teacher who had sex with her 16-year-old student was spared jail because she was not “harmed,” the judge said.
Monique Ooms, 31, hunted down the teenager while he was in an “emotionally distressed situation” and mourning a friend in the Australian town of Maffra, Victoria.
They’ve had sex at least four times in the past year – in her car and at her home – but Judge John Smallwood said the boy was “not hurt”.
He said: “In these situations, the harm is often what comes from other people after it has become public.
“That he’s very close to 17… does that in any way help shape or shape the objective seriousness of the offense?”
The couple’s relationship began when Ooms messaged the boy on social media after realizing he was more withdrawn.
They started texting and soon Ooms was sending the teenager photos of himself in her underwear.
They first kissed last July and the Latrobe Valley County Court in Victoria overheard them later arguing that it was wrong.
When they next met, they were having sex in the back seat of Ooms’ car. They had sex here at least four times before they started dating at her home.
Someone sent two letters to the principal, revealing the relationship and alerting the police.
When questioned by officers, the 16-year-old insisted he was only friends with his teacher, then warned Ooms to delete her messages.
The court heard the pair tell each other multiple times that they “love and miss each other.”
At first, Ooms denied the relationship, but she ended up being tricked into admitting it to a friend via text message. When asked, ‘You actually did it, didn’t you?’ she replied ‘yes’.
Ooms later pleaded guilty to four counts of sexually penetrating a child under her supervision and care.
Judge Smallwood emphasized that the offense was not that Ooms had sex with the boy but that she had sex with a teenager for whom she was responsible.
Crown Prosecutor Andrew Moore said: “There is no definitive evidence of harm, but it is of course a known fact that in such cases – sex offenses against minors – the harm sometimes comes up a little later and sometimes decades later. ‘
The court heard Ooms suffered “public shame”, lost her job and was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward for suicide attempts and ideas.
She now works as a bricklayer and has posted about her life on social media.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/12/australia-teacher-31-avoids-jail-for-having-sex-with-boy-16-18427136/ Australia: 31-year-old teacher avoids jail for having sex with 16-year-old boy