Court hears how student teacher groomed 14-year-old girl

"I WAS so happy and full of life, little did I know that was about to change."

Those were the words of a victim who was indecently treated by a man she was meant to trust - her student teacher.

The 25-year-old Bundaberg father-of-two will spend just three months in jail after pleading guilty three counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 and two counts of carnal knowledge of a child under 16.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Grant Klaassen told Bundaberg Magistrates Court the offending took place over a 16 month period in 2015 and 2016, when the man was a student teacher at a school in the Bundaberg region.

The girl was 14 and the student teacher was 21 when the offending began.

After meeting at school the pair exchanged Instagram names before the former student teacher instigated messaging the girl.

On Thursday the former student read a victim impact statement to the court, explaining she had gone from a happy and bubbly person to someone suffering from depression and anxiety.

She said she now second guessed everything and everyone.

She said the student teacher was the vision of every schoolgirl's fantasy and when he messaged her, her heart skipped a beat.

"You groomed me to get what you wanted," she said.

"Before I knew it you had me talking about myself and telling you private things.

"You gained my trust but little did I know you were just grooming me for your own satisfaction … I was too young and naive to know any better."

Sgt Klaassen told the court the pair had kissed and cuddled on multiple occasions and also engaged in sexual intercourse after she turned 15.

Defence lawyer Rian Dwyer told the court his client was remorseful for what he did.

The court also heard the student teacher had been expelled from university a month before finishing his degree for misconduct with young people and would now no longer be able to apply for a blue card or work with children in future.

Mr Dwyer also asked Magistrate Bronwyn Hartigan to consider an intensive correction order instead of actual time in custody.

But Magistrate Bronwyn Hartigan told Mr Dwyer that while he made good submissions, she felt the defendant needed to spend time in actual custody.

"The facts are just too serious for an intensive correction order," she said.

"This behaviour was ongoing for a long period of time and I do consider it predatory."

"Actual imprisonment is the appropriate penalty to achieve general deterrence, personal deterrence, to reflect the seriousness of what has occurred and the effect on the complainant."

She ordered the 25-year-old spend three months behind bars before his sentence is suspended for three years. 



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