Kathryn Joy Woods won’t be allowed to appeal her conviction and sentence. Picture: Ian Currie
Kathryn Joy Woods won’t be allowed to appeal her conviction and sentence. Picture: Ian Currie

Teacher who molested teen loses bid to appeal

A VICTORIAN teacher who molested a teenage boy she claimed to be in love with during the 1980s has lost a bid to overturn her conviction.

Kathryn Joy Woods avoided jail but was sentenced to a two-year community corrections order with 200 hours of unpaid work last December, after being convicted of indecent assault and gross indecency with a person under 16.

She applied for leave to appeal her conviction and sentence, but it was rejected by the Victorian Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

Woods had argued her guilty verdicts were unjustified, given the jury in her County Court trial cleared her on 12 other charges.

She also argued her sentence was manifestly excessive.

However, the appeal judges found her original sentence appropriate, "thorough and carefully considered".

"The judge was correct to characterise the offending as serious," the appeal judges said in their ruling.

"We are not persuaded the sentence … was outside the range of sentencing options available to the judge." The offending against the boy occurred in the 1980s when Woods was 25 and he was 14.

Woods had previously been the boy's teacher and had also been a private tutor.

The relationship started out like mother and son but it soon evolved and she thought she fell in love with him.

She thought of the child as a "boyfriend" and pair exchanged countless love letters.

Woods insisted the pair should "not step over the line" but she eventually "exceeded the boundaries", molesting the teenager.

She was arrested in 2017 after the victim had a "breakdown" and told his father what happened.

Woods was cleared of one charge of sexual penetration of a child aged 10 to 16, five charges of gross indecency and six of indecent assault.


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