A Victorian high school teacher who has admitted having sex with a male student almost half her age has escaped jail.
Monique Frances Ooms, 31, earlier this month pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual penetration with a child aged 16 or 17 while in custody, supervision or authority.
She was sentenced to 300 hours of community service on Friday in Victorian County Court for her relationship with the boy.
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Judge John Smallwood noted that the level of community criticism that is a natural consequence of these types of criminal charges had risen to “rather extreme levels” in the Ooms case.
She had become a virtual outcast in her community – threatened and taunted on the street, refused service in supermarkets, fired from two jobs for threats to boycott the shops, and suspended from her volunteer work with the local fire department.
That was described by the organization as a loss for her and her.
Judge Smallwood said Ooms and the boy bonded after the death of one of his friends and that Ooms’ partner ended their relationship over her mental health and fertility concerns.
“I don’t think that insult was predatory in any way,” the judge said.
“The situation arose out of a totally inappropriate relationship that escalated.”
While admitting her actions amounted to a serious offense, the judge said he had concerns about the charges themselves. He previously said the charges relate to the breach of trust rather than the sexual act.
The judges had been conditioned to treat the applicant as if he were a minor, but the boy was almost 17 years old, he added.
“At some point someone has to sit down and really figure out what these charges mean,” he said.
“I won’t say anything else or I might get myself in trouble.”
The court was told Ooms and the student formed a supportive friendship, speaking via Instagram and via text message.
The couple met late one night after the boy sneaked out of his house and kissed in a car, following a discussion about the inappropriateness of a teacher-student relationship.
They later met again and had sex.
The school was notified anonymously and the teacher was fired. The boy was contacted by police but told them nothing had happened before asking the teacher to delete messages between them.
She admitted to others that they had been together, and although she didn’t admit it in a formal interview, she later admitted the relationship.
The boy later told police, “You guys probably take it like she’s trying to get me.”
He told them she was a nice person and “I never wanted it to end like this and I never wanted her to deal with it,” the judge read from his testimony.
“She didn’t mean it the way it’s usually done when a teacher is trying to get a student.”
The woman was also ordered to undergo treatment for her mental health and a sex offender rehabilitation program.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT at 1800.737.732 or visit us 1800RESPECT.org.au.
In an emergency, call 000.
If you need help during a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For more information about depression, call beyondblue on 1300224636 or speak to your GP, local healthcare professional or someone you trust.
If you or someone you know has been affected by child sexual abuse, contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or online.
https://7news.com.au/news/court-justice/victorian-teacher-who-admitted-to-having-sex-with-student-learns-fate–c-10139508 Victorian teacher who admitted to having sex with students learns of fate