PE teacher sentenced over affair with 14-year-old student
WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT
A Hunter teacher's behaviour spiralled out of control, drinking and partying and signing up to dating apps to have affairs, seeking attention from men, in the midst of a relationship breakdown with her husband, a court has heard.
Her destructive behaviour then saw the then 26-year-old engage in a secret relationship with a 14-year-old student late 2018, where she exchanged sexually explicit images and videos before meeting up secretly on several occasions.
PE teacher Katie Smith - who can finally be named after a non-publication order lapsed - never wanted to have sex with her student but just wanted to be told she was pretty, a court has heard.
She had a "need for validation" and sought attention from males and craved their attention, according to a court report.
Dressed in a crisp white shirt and green skirt, Ms Smith, of Wyee, - now aged 28 - sobbed uncontrollably in the dock as she learned her fate for abusing her position as a teacher.
In Newcastle District Court on Friday, she was sentenced to three years and 10 months jail with a non-parole period of two years and three months.
Judge Kara Shead said she had violated the victims trust when he was entitled to feel safe and protected in her presence.
"She preyed upon the vulnerability of the student, she exploited his vulnerability," Judge Shead said.
"This is a serious act."
Police facts detailed how Ms Smith befriended the student on Snapchat, and "blurred the boundaries" between teacher and student.
Within a week, the pair were exchanging sexually explicit images and videos.
Police facts detail how Smith sent images of her breasts and a video of her rubbing her genitalia area, while the victim sent images of his erect penis.
It eventuated into secret meetups which included in a storeroom on school grounds on two occasions and in a carpark in the Christmas holidays.
Smith and the young boy kissed and fondled on those occasions, the court has heard
Their contact happened between the start of term four in 2018 and into term one of 2019.
It all came to a head when Smith became aware of sexual images of her circulating at the school and the victim told his mother of their meetups. She called police and she was arrested.
Smith pleaded guilty to grooming a child for unlawful sexual activity, indecent assault of a person under 16 and intentionally sexually touching a child between 10 and 16.
Crown advocate Kristy Mulley said there was a "power imbalance and "psychological collusion" involved in the offences.
She said Smith abused her position of trust as a teacher.
Smith's solicitor John O'Sullivan earlier pushed for a non-custodial sentence saying there would be no treatment available for his client in jail.
He told the court Ms Smith had been exposed to domestic violence at the hands of her father and had reported being sexually assaulted to a hotline.
"It appears the offender is an attention seeker," he said.
"She does take full responsibility for her actions, and expresses empathy towards the victim.
"She hasn't just lost her job, she has lost her career, she knows what she did was wrong."