A teacher escaped jail even though she admitted to having ___ with her 16-year-old student in the backseat of her car, but she will remain free despite community outrage.
Monique Ooms, 31, of Maffra, was sentenced by Victoria County Court Judge John Smallwood on March 24 to a four-year community correction order, with 300 hours of community service for the crime.
Victoria’s Bureau of Public Prosecutions quickly appealed the sentence, saying the judge got it wrong.
Monique Ooms takes care of her “baby bump”. She had claimed to be sterile at a pre-sentence plea hearing
Monique Ooms, 31, from Maffra, had ___ with her young student on several occasions. She got pregnant shortly after her sentence
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Victoria Court of Appeal dismissed that appeal, allowing Ooms to be released again and pay his costs.
Sitting in the dock with a supporter’s hand on her shoulder, Ooms began to cry as the decision was made.
In making their ruling, Justices Richard Niall, Maree Kennedy and Cameron Macaulay ruled that Ooms was entitled to leniency because of a mental condition they said contributed to his offense.
“In our view, considering the seriousness of the offence, the respondent’s personal matters, and the proper application of the sentencing objectives, the sentence imposed by the judge, while lenient and perhaps merciful, was not wholly outside the range of provisions reasonably open to him,” the judges said.
The court heard that Ooms was depressed about her infertility when she decided to sleep with her victim.
But in July it was revealed she had become pregnant the same week she was convicted in Victoria County Court.
Ooms had pleaded guilty in Latrobe Valley County Court, Victoria, to four counts of ___ually penetrating a child under his watch and care.
Her attorney Jason Gullaci, SC, told the Court of Appeals that Ooms’ pregnancy was the “most important factor” in her final defense.
Psychological reports presented at Ooms’ preliminary hearing claimed that the ___ offender was in a “frail mental state at the time of the offence”.
“The respondent discovered that she was infertile, which increased her own vulnerability to the irrational thoughts to which she was prone due to a host of mental health issues plaguing her,” the court said.
Psychologist Megan Rodgers claimed that Ooms “experienced a high level of personal vulnerability that led her to make poor decisions about the nature of the relationship with the victim.”
Dr. Suzanne Williams opined that Ooms’ low self-esteem and low sense of self contributed significantly to immature and poor judgment in making decisions about relationships.
Monique Ooms leaves the Supreme Court of Appeal in Melbourne on Tuesday
Ooms had used her own miserable upbringing to convince psychologists that she was not responsible for her evil deeds.
The court heard that she had been raped in 2018 and involved in several relationships with men that involved “some degree of degradation or abuse”.
The judges acknowledged that due to her childhood difficulties, Ooms had been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, a diagnosis of bipolar, extreme anxiety and extreme depression.
“The judge considered that all the circumstances leading to his offense produced an “unusual situation”, concluded the Court of Appeal.
“His risk of recurrence was low and his rehabilitation was already underway. After weighing all considerations, we are not convinced that the four-year community correction order, with its onerous terms, was, given all the circumstances of this particular case, a manifestly inadequate sentence.
During her first sentence, the The court heard that the young victim of Ooms – who was just weeks short of turning 17 – had snuck out in the middle of the night to have ___ with her school teacher at the time.
The 16-year-old was mourning the loss of a close friend who had died in a fatal car accident the previous week and was in an “emotionally vulnerable situation”.
The court heard that Ooms attacked his student in the weeks following his friend’s murder.
While the pair initially chatted on social media and on the phone, Ooms quickly sent her students pictures of herself in her underwear.
In July last year, the couple shared their first kiss and discussed everything that was wrong with what happened.
The next time they met, they had ___ in the back of Ooms’ car while parked in a forest at night.
The court heard that Ooms had ___ with his student at least four times over the next few weeks in the backseat of his car before arranging meetings at his home.
Monique Ooms told her sentencing judge that she couldn’t get pregnant. Then she did
Ooms was tricked by the police into exchanging text messages with a friend during which she made a confession.
The 31-year-old appears to have embraced her new business life and has posted photos of herself wearing an Akubra in front of a 4×4 on her social media pages.
The former teacher (right) contacted the student after noticing he was more withdrawn and offered him her Instagram account and then her phone number.
Ooms’ dirty relationship was discovered when someone wrote two letters to the school principal, who immediately alerted the police.
While Ooms initially tried to deny her antics, she eventually confessed to police after being tricked into confessing to a friend via text message.
The court heard when asked, “You actually did, didn’t you?” she replied “Yeah”.
In appealing, Crown Attorney Elizabeth Ruddle, KC, argued that Ooms should have been jailed because she used her good character to get a job as a teacher.
She further asserted Judge Smallwood might have acted differently if the accused teacher had been a man.
“One thing that strikes me when you read (Judge Smallwood’s) reasons, if you reverse the gender of the complainant and the offender, some of the statements would be quite concerning about the lack of a presumption of harm, for example,” he said. she told the Court of Justice. Call.
“This is a serious offence, multiple times, it’s planned, there’s unprotected ___ multiple times, and sometimes it seems to get brushed off when the complainant is a male victim, but IMHO opinion, it shouldn’t be. »
Ooms faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.