Students raised up hands green chalk board in classroom
Students raised up hands green chalk board in classroom

Former private school teacher denies sex with student

A former Toowoomba private school teacher emphatically denies ever having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 13-year-old student in the 1990s, her barrister says.

The woman is being sued in the Supreme Court by a former student who claims their alleged sexual relationship caused him psychological distress, prevented him from graduating high school and impacted his subsequent education and employment opportunities.

But defence barrister Shane MacDonald today told the court his client would take the stand to give evidence she never engaged in inappropriate conduct during her time as a teacher at the school.

"(The woman) will explain that nothing sexually inappropriate ever took place in her classroom, or her car or anywhere else at the school or at her home," Mr MacDonald said.

 

He said the woman, who is no longer a teacher and describes her current job as a "restaurant worker", would detail how she began working at the school the same year as the alleged sexual conduct began.

'She'll give evidence there were issues with (the plaintiff's) behaviour in her classes right from the start of Grade 8…," he said.

"She'll also give some evidence of the plaintiff's academic ability in her classes over the period of time she taught him.

"She will give evidence of detentions and other actions that she took to attempt to get to improve his behaviour and academic ability …"

The court heard the woman would say her relationship developed with the boy's mother who she says kept in regular contact via telephone calls and requested she send him post cards while she was overseas during one school holiday break.

During his testimony earlier this week, the plaintiff told the court the woman had requested to visit his family property as their relationship developed and claims they sat beside one another and were intimate on the bus trip to the home, kissing and touching.

"She'll give evidence of an incident that happened on the way out and the plaintiff initially refused to get back on the bus," Mr MacDonald said.

"She will also tell you that nothing of a sexual nature took place on that bus, kissing or intimate touching or anything untoward on the bus and certainly nothing of that nature happening that's sexually inappropriate at all over the weekend she spent there."

Former students have given evidence they witnessed the teacher and young student alone in a classroom together with one saying he saw the woman sitting on the boy's lap and another saying he saw them "wrestling".

Mr MacDonald said the woman would give evidence that on one occasion the boy sat on the edge of the same seat she was on one day after he played football.

"She will also describe the plaintiff recounting his football games that day and how he made some rugby moves upon her very unexpectedly during that incident," he said.

The plaintiff alleged during his evidence that he lost his virginity to the woman during a mid-year school holiday break when he was staying at the teacher's house in Toowoomba so he could attend a rugby training camp and while her husband was out of the house setting up their new business.

"She'll provide evidence nothing sexually inappropriate happened over that weekend," Mr MacDonald said.

The court the woman would detail phone calls she received from the boy's mum over the course of his schooling in Grade 8 and 9, particularly that the mother would call to ask the teacher to assist in calming the boy down when he was "being defiant".

"(She) will provide the details of the background as to why facsimiles and other notes were written to the plaintiff and go through them and explain what she meant by the words that are in those notes," Mr MacDonald said.

The barrister said his client would also detail how she met with the headmaster after the boy's family complained about written notes they found from the woman to the student hidden in his bedroom.

"Ultimately she will explain that she initially attempted to resign initially wasn't accepted by (the headmaster) and subsequently it was accepted and she left her actual paid employment with the school…," Mr MacDonald said.

The trial continues.

Originally published as Former private school teacher denies sex with student



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