A former Australian high school teacher who pleaded guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old boy broke down in court while detailing her remorse over the “severe, lifelong” impacts of her actions.
Monica Elizabeth Young, 24, pleaded guilty in April to three charges of aggravated sexual intercourse with a boy aged 14 in June and July 2020. She told the court she was “ashamed” of what she did.
The court heard how the educator told her teen victim that he “didn’t have the balls” to get physical with her in an apparent dare for sex.
“You started to dare him by saying things like ‘you don’t have the balls’ in terms of physical contact with you. Who’s being inappropriate? He’s 14, isn’t he? You’re his teacher?” a prosecutor asked her, with Young responding “yes.”
Young cried as she read aloud a letter of remorse to the court and District Court Judge Kate Traill at her sentencing hearing on Thursday.
“I am extremely embarrassed and ashamed that I have to write this letter to Your Honour; I am unable to fully express how sorry I am for my actions,” she told Downing Centre District Court.
“I cannot imagine how (the boy) and his family felt … it will be something they carry with them for the rest of their lives and it’s not something I can take back or change.
“My intentions were never to hurt him. (He) trusted me and I abused that trust which may have severe impacts on him in the future.”
Her high-profile barrister Margaret Cunneen SC told the court Ms Young, who was engaged at the time of the offences, “was in a relationship of several years … but it was going very badly”.
Ms Cunneen said the young teacher started her full-time teaching career in March 2020 and “didn’t get into teaching to access young boys, far from it”.
“She was really just out of school (university) herself, if I may make that submission, your honour,” Ms Cunneen said.
“Ms Young appreciates she can never again be a teacher.”
Prosecutor Alexander Terracini urged Judge Traill to consider as she decides on a sentence that Young sexually assaulted a student within months of starting full-time teaching.
“While it may be accepted Ms Young didn’t go into teaching to have access to children the fact is within months … she was abusing one of them,” he told the court.
“That cannot simply be ignored.”
Under questioning from Mr Terracini, Young accepted she initiated the physical contact with the boy on each of three occasions across a two-week period.
Ms Young was first arrested at her home in Greenacre in July but was released on bail from Silverwater Prison under strict conditions in August.
On Thursday, she described the five weeks in prison as, “confronting”, while also telling the court she has had no access to internet while on bail for the past 10 months and has chosen not to have a mobile phone.
“It has been quite surreal to be on bail as I never thought I would be one of those people,” she said.
Young will be sentenced on July 8.