On Tuesday in the Supreme Court in Burnie a 28-year-old past female cleaner from a Tasmanian school’s sentence began after she was charged with sexually abusing a 13-year-old male student. Their relationship is estimated to have lasted for over four months between approximately June and September in 2021. The relationship only ended after the boy’s father discovered the relationship and the matter was reported to the police.

The boy’s father has checked his son’s mobile phone and discovered pictures of the pair together and also notes of dates such as their first kiss, first time they held hands, and first time they said I love you to each other. 

The woman is said to have become friends with the boy’s mother in early 2021 and was considered to be an aunt figure in his life. His family were deeply disturbed when they uncovered the relationship given the nature of her involvement in his life.

The victims mother confronted the 28-year-old after the abuse was discovered and the woman is then alleged to have created a fake Snapchat account so the two could continue talking despite their relationship being uncovered.

The Crown case has included evidence that one of the boy’s 13-year-old friends on one occasion has witnessed the pair performing oral sex in a parked vehicle. The pair are alleged to have had sexual intercourse on at least seven occasions, multiple of these occasions are said to have occurred without as condom. However, it is not alleged that the sexual intercourse occurred without the consent of the 13-year-old. Consent is not the issue the court is concerned with in this case, the main concern is the woman taking advantage of the victims youthfulness and vulnerability and maintaining the relationship over the four month period.

The 13-year-old began self-harming after the abuse was uncovered by his parents and is not getting support for his mental health. 

The woman’s legal representative has said that his client is deeply remorseful for her actions and says she believed she was in love with the boy at the time of their relationship. The court has heard that she was lonely and depressed and accepts that she has ruined her own life through her actions.

Mr Pat Sullivan is representing the woman and has told the court that the boy initiated the sexual encounters between the pair on most of the occasions.

The woman has plead guilty to persistent sexual abuse of a child or young person and is facing a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for the offence. The sentencing began on Tuesday and has been adjourned to 18 May 2022 for further submissions to be made. 

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