School staff member at The Armidale School sentenced for sexual intercourse with students

In court: The Armidale School in Armidale where the offences occurred. Photo: Steve Green
In court: The Armidale School in Armidale where the offences occurred. Photo: Steve Green

A female staff member who slept with five male students while she was working at a prestigious boarding school in Armidale has walked from court with time served.

The now 25-year-old, who worked at The Armidale School, was handed a two-year suspended sentence in the NSW District Court in Sydney on Monday and convicted of all charges. 

Last week, the 25-year-old told the court the students had threatened to report her to the school if she didn’t continue sleeping with them.

The young woman, whose identity has been suppressed, has already spent 14-and-a-half months in custody while awaiting trial, which resulted in a hung jury. 

She pleaded guilty during her second trial in April to six counts of sexual intercourse with a person under her care and three counts of aggravated sexual intercourse.

The behaviour occurred over several months during 2014 and 2015 with students between 15 and 17 years old.

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The woman exchanged thousands of text messages with the teenagers about their liaisons during that time. 

The woman was suspended in September 2015 after the activity was mandatorily reported. 

In court: The Armidale School in Armidale where the offences occurred. Photo: Steve Green

In court: The Armidale School in Armidale where the offences occurred. Photo: Steve Green

Acting Judge Christopher Armitage gave the woman a two-year suspended sentence, and placed her on a good behaviour bond for two years.

When she took the stand during her sentencing hearing last week, the woman claimed she was blackmailed into sleeping with some of the boys.

“I would like to say I’m remorseful of my actions and I apologise to those who were involved,” the woman said under examination by her barrister, Greg Heathcote, in the same court on Friday.

“The situation got out of hand and I didn’t deal with it in a way that I should’ve.”

Last week, Judge Armitage lifted suppression orders prohibiting the name, location and type of the school but kept the order surrounding the identity of the staff member in place.

Parents of the boys involved had written to the court, urging for the school to be named, claiming educators needed to be held accountable for their failure to properly care for the teenagers.

 – with Angus Thompson

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