PE Teacher Jailed For Kissing And Groping Boy Half Her Age
A PE teacher in Australia has been jailed after she kissed and groped a schoolboy half her age.
Katie Smith, from the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, pleaded guilty to grooming a child for unlawful sexual activity, indecently assaulting a person under 16 and intentionally sexually touching a child aged between 10 and 16.
The 28-year-old shared sexually explicit pictures of herself with the boy, 14, on Snapchat, and kissed him in a storeroom and a car park while touching him intimately outside his clothing.
Smith cried as Judge Kara Shead sentenced her to three years and 10 months with a non-parole period of two years and three months at Newcastle District Court on Friday.
Police initially launched an investigation after the boy told his mum about their encounters.
By the time officers went to her home she had contacted the boy telling him to delete her number, warning him they would get in trouble.
Smith told the court she had not sought sex with the boy and was not aroused by their exchanges but needed 'validation' amid problems in her marriage, according to the Australian Associated Press.
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She added that she hated the word 'grooming', would 'do anything and everything to get attention' and 'just wanted to be told I was pretty'.
Smith said she had got stuck in a cycle of online sexual encounters followed by periods of self-loathing.
She added that she suffers from eating disorders and is obsessed with her appearance, claiming she would sometimes cry when looking at herself in the mirror and had been undergoing therapy.
Judge Shead said that Smith's 'borderline personality disorder' did not absolve her, adding that she broke teacher trust by breaching the 'absolute prohibition on sexual activity with a child'.
The judge said Smith had preyed on the child and courts must send a 'stern message' that sexual activity with a child, especially by teachers, will not be tolerated.
Judge Shead added Smith had 'exploited [the student's] vulnerability'.
However, she concluded Smith was unlikely to re-offend and had 'reasonable prospects' in terms of her rehabilitation.
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