Teacher’s aide had sex with student, 15
A Victorian teacher's aide who took advantage of a 15-year-old student to gratify herself will be jailed for four years and two months, with a non-parole period of two years and six months.
Nicole Woods, 55, of Melton, had oral and penetrative sex on school grounds with a student between April and September 2016, when she was 51 and he was 15, and sent him photos of herself with her breasts exposed.
County Court judge George Georgiou said on Tuesday that her behaviour had "devastated" the boy's family.
He said the Staughton College teacher's aide had been living a "chaotic lifestyle" and had abused alcohol on-and-off since the age of 14.
At the time of the sexual abuse she was using ice every day, smoking cannabis before going to work at the school, and experimenting with other drugs including heroin.
Woods told court-appointed mental health experts she felt "ashamed" and the abuse was "the lowest thing she could ever do," Judge Georgiou said.
But she also maintained the sex was "consensual" and said the boy "didn't look like a five-year-old."
He said mental health experts found Woods had a poor sense of self, a distorted view of others, and had been shaped by being "repeatedly humiliated, rejected or belittled" since childhood.
"You described feeling wanted and liked by the victim, and that you had never felt that way in your life," he said. "You took advantage of your position to satisfy your own emotional needs."
Judge Georgiou said Woods began by helping the victim with his work in English class, before inviting him and three other students to hang out in her office, and escalating the behaviour by sending him a Facebook message saying she could "play with him".
The following day she "removed his school shorts and performed oral sex on him" while they were alone in her office at school.
She also had sex with him on school grounds.
Rumours of her conduct circulated and were eventually reported to police.
Judge Georgiou said her behaviour had a "destructive and lasting impact", with the boy previously sharing with the court in a victim impact statement that he had dropped out of school, was anxious and depressed, and felt he had lost his innocence.
He was being treated for PTSD, had stopped playing sport and couldn't work because he felt anxious in open spaces and around new people.
His mother was "devastated, sick, fearful and angry" when she learned of what had been going on between the teacher's aide and her 15-year-old son, and Judge Georgiou said she felt she had failed to protect him.
Judge Georgiou said it was distressing for the mother to see her son continuing to suffer from the psychological fallout of the sexual abuse.
"She hopes to one day see her son living a pain-free, normal life where he is not reliant on medication," he said.
Judge Georgiou said the acts occurred when the boy was under Woods' care, supervision and authority.
The child sex offender had also worked at kindergartens, childcare centres and primary schools.
"Parents … have every right to expect that when children attend school they will be safe from harm and not be preyed upon by those entrusted to care for them," he said.
The court heard Woods' childhood was spent in a "well-off" family living in Indonesia and Singapore while her father worked for BP, but the family's fortunes took a turn for the worst, and they began struggling financially during a difficult divorce.
Woods' mother has stopped replying to her letters since the arrest and her two sons - who are both older than her victim - aren't speaking to her.
Woods pleaded guilty to two charges of taking part in an act of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16 after initially denying everything.
As well as her jail sentence, she will be placed on the sex offender register.
Originally published as Teacher's aide had sex with student, 15