A 35-year-old woman who was a Perth high school teacher when she persistently sexually abused two female students over almost two years has been jailed for nearly five years.
The girls were aged 14 and 15 when their media teacher befriended them before engaging in sexual activity with them at their family homes, her house and in her car between 2015 and 2017.
The teacher was sentenced on Friday in the District Court of WA to four years and 11 months behind bars after pleading guilty to 33 counts of sexually penetrating and indecently dealing with children under her authority.
The court heard she was lonely, socially isolated, didn’t have a work-life balance and had distorted thinking known as “adultification” whereby she treated the girls as her peers rather than understanding there was a power imbalance.
The teacher naively believed she had an emotional “connection” with the teenagers and “knew it wasn’t right but let her feelings overrule her brain”.
Judge Mark Herron said the parents had welcomed her into their homes believing she was helping the girls with their studies and the offending was brazen as it was often committed with family members nearby.
The court heard one of the girls had low self-esteem and told the teacher she didn’t want her to see her body, but she hugged and kissed the teenager saying it was alright.
She cried when the teacher revealed she was having a relationship with the other girl.
Judge Herron accepted defence counsel Mark Andrews’ submission the offending was not predatory but a degree of grooming had been involved.
The teacher will be eligible for parole after serving two years and 11 months.