Teacher jailed for sex with student

Transcript: The World Today - ABC Local Radio
May 5, 2005
Reporter: Lynn Bell

ELEANOR HALL: Back home now, and this morning the Victorian Court of Appeal has reviewed the sentence imposed on a female teacher who had sex with one of her 15-year-old students.

The judgement held that the original wholly suspended sentence imposed on 37-year-old Karen Louise Ellis was manifestly inadequate, and instead sentenced her to six months in prison.

From Melbourne, Lynn Bell reports.

LYNN BELL: Karen Louise Ellis sat quietly in the courtroom and started to cry as Justice Callaway increased her sentence, for pleading guilty to six counts of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16.

Neither her husband nor the boy she'd had a sexual relationship with were in the court this morning, and outside her solicitor, Chester Metcalfe, said Karen Ellis is extremely upset.

CHESTER METCALFE: She's pretty devastated. We're all devastated about it.

REPORTER: Are you surprised by the findings?

CHESTER METCALFE: Look, we're very… yeah, well I suppose we are.

She's taking it pretty hard at the moment and, as you could expect, it's been a pretty long road.

LYNN BELL: The former PE teacher and mother of three children admitted having a six-week relationship with a Year 10 student in 2003.

During the trial, the student told the court he'd initiated the affair and he didn't want Ellis to go to jail.

Last November she was sentenced to 22 months in prison, but the sentence was wholly suspended, and the Director of Public Prosecutions lodged an appeal.

Today, that appeal was upheld.

The boy's mother told Southern Cross Radio she's relieved by the sentence, but is still estranged from her son.

MOTHER: Justice has been done with this woman. And for the other victims of sexual abuse, I feel for them as well. You know, hopefully she will sit in there for a while and think about how she's affected so many people.

LYNN BELL: In his judgement, Justice Callaway said Ellis must be required to serve part of her sentence in prison. Unless that's done, he said, the principle of equality will not be observed, nor would the court sufficiently condemn the respondent's conduct.

Karen Ellis' legal team say they'll consider an appeal against the six-month jail term.

ELEANOR HALL: Lynn Bell in Melbourne.



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