Teacher defends her sexual exploits with students by claiming “I actually thought 16 was the legal age and I found out later it wasn’t.”
A high school teacher has admitted having sex with three teenage students from Tasmanian high schools where she was teaching, reports The Mercury.
Casey Lee Sullivan, 33, appeared before Chief Justice Alan Blow in the Supreme Court in Hobart after pleading guilty to nine counts of having sexual intercourse with a young person under the age of 17 years between 2012 and 2015.
Crown Prosecutor Jessica Wade said the victims were aged 15 and 16.
The court heard Sullivan’s offending started when she had sex with a boy she met while still a student teacher in 2012.
The following year, Sullivan sent flirtatious messages to a 15-year-old grade 10 student via Facebook .
She later told police she thought the boy was a year older “I actually thought 16 was the legal age and I found out later it wasn’t.”
In 2015 she contacted another student via social media and exchanged messages in which she was “flirtatious”, the court heard.
Ms Wade said the crimes were serious breaches of trust and said a deterrent sentence was called for.
Defence lawyer James O’Shannessey said his client had deep shame and regret for her actions and recognised the seriousness of her offending.
He said Sullivan had been ostracised by her local community and had been victimised and humiliated in public after news of her offending spread, reports The Mercury.
Mr O’Shannessey said Sullivan’s actions stemmed from emotional immaturity and self-esteem issues compounded by a bad marriage which had left her with feelings of low self-worth and desperate for positive attention.
Chief Justice Blow remanded Sullivan in custody for sentencing next Thursday.
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