Teacher jailed for abuse of two students

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A young female teacher was last Friday jailed for 7 1/2 years for sexually abusing two female pupils, with one of her victims saying she was now too scared to enter a classroom.

In a victim impact statement to the court, the teacher’s second victim, who was 17 at the time she was abused, said she had put off university studies out of fears of being back in a classroom.

The girl said she had been made to believe that what was happening between her and the teacher was “normal”, but she was now struggling to come to terms with the abuse.

“She is largely carrying the burden of what happened to her,” Judge Ronald Birmingham said.

The arts teacher, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was working at a southern suburbs school when she targeted the two girls between 2015 and 2017.

During her sentencing in the Perth District Court last week Judge Birmingham said the woman had engaged in “manipulative and controlling behaviour” with her first victim, a 13-year-old girl — stealing her first kiss and pressuring her to use sex toys, while supplying the other girl with cannabis before they engaged in sex acts.

When questioned by another teacher about rumours regarding the close bond between her and the first girl, the teacher denied the claims and said the students were “little gossiping s....”.

When the offending began, the teacher had been in a relationship with her partner for about six years.

On an occasion where the first victim turned up at her home unexpectedly, the woman lied and told her partner the student was seeking comfort away from her abusive parents.

The court was told that just months before the first victim was targeted, the woman had completed various Department of Education certificates and programs — some of which related to Child Protection.

The court was told that the teacher had herself been sexually abused, and had been bullied throughout school.

Judge Birmingham labelled her behaviour as “self-destructive” and said the offending was “always going to end in tears”.

“This has utterly destroyed your life but it was your own making,” he said. “A high standard is expected of school teachers...and this falls significantly below that,” he said.

“You took advantage of the position you were in and abused it.”

The woman will spend at least 5 1/2 years behind bars before she is made eligible for parole.

She will now be listed as a registered sex offender.

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