A teacher who was spared jail after admitting to having sex with her 16-year-old student in the back seat of her car will not be sent to jail.
Monique Ooms, 31, of Maffra, was sentenced March 24 by Victoria District Court Judge John Smallwood to a four-year sentence with 300 hours of community service for the crime.
The Victorian Attorney’s Office immediately appealed this verdict, arguing that the judge had made a mistake.
Monique Ooms takes care of her “baby bump”. She had claimed during a pre-sentencing hearing that she was infertile
Monique Ooms, 31, from Maffra has repeatedly had sex with her young student. She became pregnant shortly after her conviction
On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal of Victoria’s Supreme Court dismissed that appeal, again allowing Ooms to walk free and pay her costs.
Ooms sat in the dock with a supporter’s hand on his shoulder and began to cry when the decision was announced.
In delivering their sentencing, Justices Richard Niall, Maree Kennedy and Cameron Macaulay found that Ooms was entitled to clemency because of a mental illness they believed contributed to her offence.
“In our view, given the seriousness of the offence, the personal concerns of the defendant and the correct application of the aims of the sentence, the punishment imposed by the judge, while lenient and perhaps merciful, was not entirely outside the scope of ‘dispositions reasonably within his power’.” declared the judges.
The court had heard that Ooms had been depressed about her infertility when she decided to put her victim to bed.
But in July it was revealed that she had become pregnant in the very week that she was sentenced by Victoria District Court.
Ooms had pleaded guilty to four counts of sexually penetrating a child under her supervision and care in Latrobe Valley County Court in Victoria.
Her attorney, Jason Gullaci, SC, told the appeals court that Ooms’ pregnancy was the “most significant factor” in her final defense.
Psychological reports submitted at Oom’s pre-sentencing hearing claimed that the sex offender was in a “fragile state of mind” at the time of the offence.
“The defendant found that she was infertile, which increased her own susceptibility to irrational thinking, which she was prone to because of a constellation of mental illnesses she suffered from,” the court heard.
Psychologist Megan Rodgers claimed that Ooms “experienced a high level of personal vulnerability, which led to her making poor decisions about the nature of the relationship with the victim.”
dr Suzanne Williams believed that Ooms’ low self-esteem and low self-esteem were major contributors to his immaturity and lack of judgment when making decisions about relationships.
Monique Ooms leaves the Supreme Court of Appeals in Melbourne on Tuesday
Ooms had used her own miserable upbringing to convince psychologists that she was not responsible for her perverted actions.
The court heard her was raped in 2018 and involved in multiple relationships with men that involved “some degree of humiliation or abuse.”
The judges accepted that Ooms had been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, extreme anxiety and extreme depression because of her childhood difficulties.
“The judge found that the totality of the circumstances leading up to her offense resulted in an ‘unusual situation,’” the Court of Appeal found.
“Her risk of being insulted again was low and her rehabilitation was already underway.” All things considered, we are not convinced that the four-year community sentence, with its onerous conditions, was a manifestly inadequate sentence in all the circumstances of this particular case. “
During her first prison sentence, the The court heard that Ooms’ young victim – who was just weeks away from his 17th birthday – had snuck out in the middle of the night to have sex with his then-school teacher.
The 16-year-old was mourning the loss of a close friend who died in a fatal car accident the week before and found himself in an “emotionally precarious position”.
The court heard that Ooms had exploited their student in the weeks following his friend’s murder.
While the pair initially chatted on social media and on the phone, Ooms was soon texting her student photos of herself in her underwear.
In July of last year, the two shared their first kiss and discussed everything that was wrong about what had happened.
When they next met, the two had sex in the back seat of Ooms’ car while parked in a forest at night.
The court heard Ooms had sex with her student in the back seat of her car at least four times over the next few weeks before arranging sex at her home.
Monique Ooms informed her judge that she could not conceive. Then she did
Ooms was tricked by police into having a text exchange with a friend in which she made confessions
The 31-year-old seems to have embraced her new traditional life and has posted photos of herself with an Akubra in front of a 4×4 on her social media pages
The former teacher (right) had reached out to the student after realizing he was more withdrawn, offering her her Instagram name and later her phone number
Ooms’ sordid relationship was discovered when someone wrote two letters to the headmaster, who promptly alerted the police.
While Ooms initially tried to deny her antics, she eventually confessed to police after being tricked into making concessions to a friend via text message.
The court heard the question: “You actually did it, didn’t you?” She answered “Yes”.
In her appeal, Crown Attorney Elizabeth Ruddle, KC, argued that Ooms should have been jailed for the fact that she used her good character to get a teaching job in the first place.
She continued to claim Judge Smallwood might have acted differently if the accused teacher had been male.
“One thing that strikes me from reading[Judge Smallwood’s]reasoning is that some of the testimonies would be quite concerning if you reversed the sexes of the complainant and offender, for example in relation to the lack of a presumption of harm.” , she told the Court of Appeal.
“This is a serious offence, multiple times, it is planned, multiple times unprotected sex occurs and that sometimes seems to be swept away when the complainant is a male victim, but in my respectful view that should not be the case.”
Ooms had threatened a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.