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Australian teacher pleads guilty for having sex with teen pupil but will avoid jail time | World | News

A teacher has avoided jail time despite pleading guilty to having sex with a 16-year-old pupil. Monique Ooms, a former teacher in the Australian town of Maffra in Victoria, had sex with the teenage student who was in a “vulnerable state” while grieving a friend. However, the ex-teacher has avoided jail time as the teen was not “harmed”, the judge said.

The teacher pleaded guilty to having sex with the teenage boy, who cannot be named.

The offences relate to several incidents from July 1 to August 8, 2022.

Speaking at Ooms’ trial at County Court of Victoria on Wednesday last week, Judge John Smallwood stated the boy had not been “harmed”.

He said: “Often in these situations, the harm is what comes from other people after it becomes public.

“He being very close to 17 … does that go to in any way, shape or form the objective seriousness of the offending?”

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The school teacher, who was 30 at the time of the offences, began the relationship with her student when he was in a “vulnerable situation emotionally”, the court heard.

The pair exchanged social media details around June and had conversations outside school.

Ooms then gave him her personal phone number and the pair texted each other and shared “late night calls”.

The two of them told eachother “I love you” over text.

The court also heard: “She would also send him photos of herself in her underwear.

Crown Prosecutor Andrew Moore said: “There’s no definitive evidence of harm, but it is of course a notorious fact that in these sorts of cases – sexual offending against minors – harm doesn’t surface sometimes until a little bit later and sometimes decades later.”

In early August, the teen’s school received two anonymous letters about the offending, which resulted in the authorities being contacted.

The boy initially denied the accusations and urged Ooms to delete the messages.

However, Ooms’ lawyer Katherine Rolfe told the court the former teacher accepted the offending was serious, given her role as the boy’s teacher and his vulnerable state.

Her lawyer also added the former teacher struggled with mental issues which impaired her judgment.

In recent months, Ooms had been involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric ward because of suicide attempts and ideation, Rolfe said.

Ooms remains on bail and will face a sentence hearing later this week.

If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse, contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or online.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts contact the Samaritans on 116123 or online.

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.