Teacher, 31, who had secret car sex with ‘vulnerable’ student, 16, avoids jail
A female teacher who admitted having sex with a 16-year-old student on the back seat of her car will not be jailed as a judge said there was “no evidence” the boy had been harmed.
Monique Ooms this week pleaded guilty at Latrobe Valley County Court in the state of Victoria, Australia, to four counts of sexual penetration of a child under her supervision and care.
The court heard that Ooms, 31, would pick up the teenage boy in her car late at night and drive him to remote locations so they could have sex.
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Prosecutors said that the teenager had been in a "vulnerable situation emotionally" after losing a close friend in a car crash when the affair began.
The boy did not appear as a witness, and was reportedly “worried” about what might happen to Ooms.
"Often in these situations the harm is what comes from other people after it becomes public," Judge John Smallwood said.
He added that despite the youngster being 16, he could not be considered a child, and was satisfied that the boy had consented to the sexual activity.
"There has clearly been discussion between he and her about the wrongfulness of it. He nevertheless consents and makes that very clear," he said.
However, the judge said: “The offence isn’t the penetration, it’s doing it while a teacher”.
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The teen had refused to discuss the incident with counsellors, according to Crown Prosecutor Andrew Moore.
The boy had started chatting with his teacher about his feelings regarding the loss of his friend over social media and text messages, but before long Ooms was texting her student photos of herself in her underwear.
"There's no definitive evidence of harm, but it is of course a notorious fact that in these sorts of cases – sexual offending against minors – harm doesn't surface sometimes until a little bit later and sometimes decades later," the judge said.
The offence carries a potential sentence of 10 years behind bars. But the judge, taking Ooms’s “fragile mental state” into account, decided against a custodial sentence.
Ooms lost her teaching certificate as a result of the case, and she is now working as a bricklayer.
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