Woman jailed for having sex with boy of 15

A WOMAN has been jailed for having a sexual relationship with a teenage boy while she was the co-ordinator of the youth residential care facility he was living in.

The 29-year-old woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, was working as the co-ordinator of a youth care centre, funded by the Department of Child Safety, when she began a relationship with a 15-year-old resident of the facility.

She yesterday pleaded guilty in the Ipswich District Court to maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child, and four counts of carnal knowledge of children under 16 years (and attempts) while she was their guardian or carer.

The relationship continued for two months and included a getaway by the two to Coffs Harbour and her acting as the signatory for him to get a tattoo.

At one stage the child even attempted to call the relationship off with the woman but she said she wanted it to continue for "one more week".

The court heard the woman lost her blue card and job at the home when the charges were laid against her but the relationship didn't stop.

Judge Deborah Richards described the woman's behaviour as one of the most significant breaches of trust she could imagine.

The court heard the child was in a vulnerable state having been put in care and was in a fragile state after the death of friends.

The affair included sex between the pair on a number of occasions over the two-month period.

Her defence lawyers told the court the co-ordinator's job was far beyond the woman's qualifications and ability and she was "drowning" in the responsibility, leading to depression.

The Crown prosecution described her behaviour as "predatory" and said she had lied to police about the affair when she was initially questioned about it.

She told police in April 2011, while the affair was happening, that she hadn't had a relationship with the boy and he was making it up in order to blackmail her.

Judge Richards said the woman abused the teen by having a sexual relationship with him.

"You totally disregarded what your responsibilities were," she said. "He was vulnerable and too young to make appropriate decisions.

"(This was) a gross breach of trust. It's hard to imagine a more significant breach of trust. It could only be worse if you were a parent. It's probably more significant than a teacher."

The woman was sentenced to four years prison for maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child under 16, to be suspended after 16 months in prison.

She was sentenced to 12 months prison on each of the carnal knowledge charges, to run concurrently.

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