A married PE teacher who kissed and groped a 14-year-old boy in a store room at school has been sentenced to almost four years in jail.
Katie Smith, who at 28 is twice the schoolboy’s age, sent explicit photos and messages to the teen as she groomed him on Snapchat.
She indecently assaulted him at school and in a car park, a court heard.
She told a court she was seeking validation amid problems in her marriage and feelings of insecurity, and just “wanted to be told I was pretty”.
Smith, from the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia, broke down in tears as she was sentenced for three years and ten months. She must serve at least two years and three months before she is eligible for release from prison.
The court heard Smith befriended the boy in in the final term of 2018, and they kissed and groped each other on two different occasions.
One incident happened in a store room at school and the second incident happened in a car park, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Smith sent photos of her breasts and video of her touching her genitals.
The boy also sent explicit photos to the teacher.
Smith later found out that some of the photos of her had been sent to other pupils at the school, and that brought an end to the exchanges, the court was told.
The 14-year-old told his mum about the encounters, and she contacted police, who began an investigation and arrested the teacher.
Smith admitted charges of grooming a child for unlawful sexual activity, indecent assault of a person under 16, and intentionally sexually touching a child between 10 and 16.
She told Newcastle District Court she didn’t want to have sex with the boy, but was seeking validation amid problems in her marriage.
She said she experienced insecurity over her appearance and eating disorders, adding she just “wanted to be told I was pretty”.
She would cry as she looked at herself in the mirror and “do anything and everything to get attention”, she added.
The court heard she suffered from a borderline personality disorder and was pursuing therapy.
Sentencing, Judge Kara Shead said Smith’s actions were a serious breach of trust and a violation of the “absolute prohibition on sexual activity with a child”.
The judge said she had to send a “stern message” that sex crimes against minors, especially in a case of a teacher abusing a pupil, were not acceptable.