A Sydney teacher who engaged in sexual acts during and between classes with a 14-year-old student has been jailed for at least two years and five months.
Monica Elizabeth Young was 23 when she first began messaging the teenager on Snapchat during Sydney’s first coronavirus lockdown.
When his geography classes resumed, the boy acceded to Young’s dare to hug him, the district court judge Kate Traill said on Wednesday.
Young was sending the boy nude photos within days and then organised meetings on school grounds.
In a classroom during a lunch break, she said he “didn’t have the balls” to engage in digital sexual intercourse and, after sexual contact occurred, she kissed the boy on the lips.
Sexual acts also occurred during a movie screening with other students nearby, on a staircase one afternoon, and in a public car park.
The “very serious” crimes involved taunts, encouragement and Young physically assisting the boy’s hands, the judge said.
The teacher must have recognised the boy’s sexual immaturity and she had “egregiously” breached the trust of the boy’s parents, Traill said.
“The offender was a figure of authority, she exploited his vulnerability and manipulated him,” Traill said.
Young, now 24, had only been at the school for a few weeks before the country plunged into lockdown in March 2020.
Having scored an Atar of 44 and only being qualified in physical education, she said she was overwhelmed with teaching geography and science classes.
But the judge agreed with the crown that “hundreds, if not thousands” of teachers were unqualified in some subjects but didn’t abuse their students.
The rookie educator only stopped after the victim’s family saw her pick up the boy.
The victim’s mother had earlier learned of the teacher’s contact when grabbing her son’s phone and seeing a Snapchat photo of Young, lying fully clothed on her bed, with the caption “I’m waiting for you”.
In a written statement to the court, the boy said he thought Young was a “cool teacher” but now realised he had been abused.
He couldn’t return to school, had lost his only friend and now had fractured relationships with family members he believes view him “as a failure”.
“He says he struggles to smile about anything anymore,” the judge said.
Young pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual intercourse with a child and admitted other crimes related to sexual touching and inciting sexual contact with a minor.
In a sentence hearing in June, she spoke of her regret and apologised for breaching the boy’s trust.
“I studied for four years … to guide young people … but the lines got blurred,” the now-registered sex offender said.
Traill accepted Young was immature, hadn’t entered teaching to access young males and was in a poor relationship with an adult man at the time of the offending.
The judge found she was unlikely to re-offend and had special circumstances warranting a reduction in her non-parole period.
Backdated 36 days to include time on remand, Young will be eligible for parole on 1 November 2023. Her full term of four years and nine months expires in 2026.