A Sydney high school teacher tearfully told a court how ashamed and embarrassed she was about having sex with a 14-year-old student.
Monica Elizabeth Young was 23 when she started teaching in March 2020, shortly before the school was plunged into lockdown and online learning began.
The teacher blocked her ninth grade victim from the online class “for inappropriate comments on the wire,” she told Sydney District Court on Thursday.
But after contacting her via Instagram, she found her Snapchat account and sent her a bold physical contact message, the court was told.
“You don’t have the balls,” read one of his messages.
The boundaries between students and teachers softened when online classes began, seeing them at home, and when school resumed, students were more relaxed and at ease, Young said.
She read her letter to the court addressing the mother and family of her teenage victim.
“I am unable to fully express how sorry I am for my actions which negatively impacted (the boy) and his family,” she said.
“(The boy) trusted me and I abused that trust, which can have serious consequences for his future. I deeply regret that I have allowed the relationship to progress as far as it has. made.
“I studied for four years … to guide young people … but the lines have faded.”
Crown Attorney Alexander Terracini argued that this was not spontaneous sexual abuse, citing a post with words that “It’s dangerous if we get caught, but if you do it will be worth it ”.
“With every incident… you initiated physical contact,” Mr. Terracini asked.
Sexual acts occurred while she was teaching geography “once or twice,” she said, and up to three times outside of the classroom.
The court had previously heard that she had met the boy at her workplace and other places.
Before her trial began, she pleaded guilty to three counts of having sex with a 14-year-old teenager in aggravating circumstances while he was under her authority, between June and July 2020.
The Crown argued that jail was the only appropriate sentence.
“While it can be assumed that Ms. Young did not enter teaching to gain access to children, the fact is that within months of accepting her very first job as a teacher, she was abusing the one of them, ”Terracini said.
Young’s lawyer Margaret Cunneen SC said the new teacher was overwhelmed by courses to teach in which she had no training and no support from senior staff.
“With all the stressors going on, a whole different kind of teaching that had to be organized … students contacting her all hours of the night, it allowed for a blur, a criminal blur no doubt, but a blur. in her mind of her role as a teacher, ”she said.
Ms Cunneen argued that there is a difference between male offenders who deliberately seek employment “where they can have access to people who form the basis of their sexual fetishes or illegal fantasies” and female teachers such as Young.
“It may be unusual for female teachers to appear in court after mistreating one of their students, but frankly… how on earth is it relevant to the genre,” Terracini said against the defense submission. .
Young is due to be sentenced by Judge Kate Traill on July 8.
Associated Australian Press