By: Jamie McKinnell
A former teacher has been jailed for four years and nine months for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy from a Western Sydney school.
Monica Elizabeth Young pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual intercourse over her abuse of the student in June and July last year.
Young was 23 when she met up with the boy at various locations, including classrooms and her car.
The pair spoke on the social media platforms Instagram and Snapchat.
Young told the teenager to hug and touch her when they met up in person, taunting him by saying he “did not have the balls”.
“It’s dangerous if we get caught, but if you do it, it’ll be worth it,” Young said in a message in late June.
When the victim’s mother later took his phone off him, she saw a photo Young sent showing her lying fully clothed in bed with a caption that read: “I’m waiting for you”.
District Court Judge Kate Traill today said Young’s crimes “egregiously” breached the trust placed in teachers.
“The offender preyed on the vulnerability of the victim as a child and as a student whom she taught,” she told the Downing Centre in sentencing.
“She exploited his vulnerability and manipulated him.”
Young was handed a maximum sentence of four years and nine months with a non-parole period of two years and five months.
The judge accepted she was in a “bad relationship” at the time, was immature, and did not go into teaching to be near young males for sexual gratification.
The court heard Young was only two months into her first job as a teacher and she described being “overwhelmed”, including by being in charge of classes she was not qualified to teach.
She said she saw the victim as “a friend rather than a student” and expressed feelings of guilt and shame following her crimes.
In an impact statement, the victim told the court his life had “changed dramatically” for the worse since Young’s abuse.
The teenager said he’d been “forced to grow up” and can no longer face his family because he feels like a failure.
Last month, Young told the court she never wanted to intentionally harm the victim and said she struggled with online class protocols introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Crown argued hundreds, if not thousands, of new teachers have little training but don’t offend in the way Young did.
Young will be eligible for parole in October 2023.