David Barry Quinn, 33, of Croydon, pleaded guilty in the County Court in late April to four counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16 under his care, supervision or authority between August 7 and September 4, 2004.
In sentencing today, Judge Frances Millane said Quinn had committed a serious breach of trust.
“The victim was infatuated with you … at the time she was a child nearly half your age and because of her infatuation with you … she was no doubt extremely vulnerable.”
She said Quinn had sex with the year 9 student from his geography class after she initiated an SMS flirtation.
“If you ever just want to fool around, text me, I’m all for it,” one message from the 15-year-old girl read.
“It seems very very wrong but I do enjoy your company,” a message from Quinn to the victim said.
Quinn acted on the invitation and arranged to pick up the girl, who cannot be named, from her part-time job one Saturday. They went back to his house and had sex, Judge Millane said. They then went to see a movie and Quinn then took the girl back to his house and had sex with her again.
On another occasion she stayed the night at his house.
Judge Millane said an aggravating factor in the case was Quinn’s attempt to hide the relationship by making an agreement with the victim to deny the affair if it was discovered.
“Not content with the sexual corruption of this student, I am told you sought to enter into an agreement with her that if your relationship is discovered you would both deny the relationship.”
The girl told a workmate of the affair and the school principal was notified. But both Quinn and the victim denied the relationship and the inquiry was dropped, she said.
At the plea hearing Tim Sowden, Quinn’s lawyer, said the victim had obsessively pursued Quinn and he found it hard to resist her persistent advances.
Mr Sowden told the court Quinn regretted his actions greatly and knew what he had done was wrong.
But Judge Millane said Quinn was “an experienced teacher … with a good knowledge of teenage girls” and should have known where to draw the line.
She said he was unlikely to re-offend. “You probably do not pose a threat to children in the future.”
Quinn was not a predator, she said, and the victim had been a willing participant in the clandestine affair.
“It appears that your conduct was opportunistic, not predatory.”
Judge Millane sentenced Quinn to 34 months jail, with 16 months of the sentence suspended.
“The sentence must send a strong and deterrent message to those in a position of authority,” she said.