Teacher got 16-year-old student pregnant
A high school teacher who groomed and sexually abused a vulnerable 15-year-old girl who he later got pregnant and married has been sentenced to jail.
The 28-year-old relief teacher was working at a Redlands Coast Christian college when he began sending the teenager messages which "made her feel special", the Brisbane District Court heard on Friday.
Prosecutor Michael Gawrych told the court that the text messages became sexual and the teacher began an unlawful relationship with the girl five months before her 16th birthday in 2008.
Mr Gawrych said during the relationship the man, who is now 41, was controlling and pressured her to perform oral sex telling her "she'd get used to it" after she told him she did not enjoy it.
The court heard that when the teenager's relationship broke down with her own family, her parents granted the teacher temporary guardianship and she moved into his Redland Bay unit.
She fell pregnant at 16, they married at 18 and later had three children together.
Mr Gawrych told the court that soon after he proposed to the 15-year-old, the man and his mother asked the teenager to sign affidavits stating he had not sexually touched her while she was underage.
The court heard the teacher resigned from the school in 2008 but continued working in private and public schools in Brisbane and Sydney up until his teaching registration was cancelled in 2019.
The former teacher faced court on Friday where he pleaded guilty to maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child and nine counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16.
Mr Gawrych said the girl was a vulnerable teenager and he had coached her on what to tell others about their relationship.
"She was of course a vulnerable complainant, with an unsettled family life who was being bullied at school," he said.
"She sought comfort in the defendant's attention and he took advantage of the situation. In respect of the sexual acts, there was a level of perversion. He encouraged her to do acts she was clearly not comfortable with initially."
Barrister Jessica Goldie told the court that there was no allegation they had sex when she was underage and while he was 13 years older, he was "quite immature" and had never been in a relationship.
Ms Goldie stressed that it was a "fully consensual" relationship, but Judge Michael Byrne QC said it would be "naive" to think there had not been an impact on the complainant.
"She was corrupted by you," Judge Byrne told the defendant.
"I bear in mind that at all times she was acting consensually. Nonetheless you were the adult in this relationship and your conduct could only act to corrupt her.
"I recognise wholeheartedly and quite readily that your conduct must have had a serious direct effect upon this complainant woman."
Judge Byrne said there was a degree of "opportunism" to his offending which was aggravated by his position of trust as a teacher.
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"The greater community has an expectation that teachers will nurture the next generation," he said.
"You failed in that trust which had been reposed in you."
The man was sentenced to 3.5 years' jail, to be suspended after serving 10 months behind bars.
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
*For 24-hour support in Queensland phone DVConnect on 1800 811 811, MensLine on 1800 600 636 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Originally published as Teacher jailed over relationship with 15-year-old student