Consider the article below reprinted in the age newspaper. She has apparently shown contrition and has undergone extensive rehabilitation. Had she pleaded not guilty, I’d suggest she may have found herself behind bars? Given the evidence was apparently damning, at least she undertook some rehabilitative action.
Sex abuse teacher walks from court
A Melbourne teacher who sexually assaulted a teenage student after using shared religious beliefs to win her family’s trust has walked free from court.
Victorian County Court Judge Christopher Ryan said Yolanda Lyons had undertaken a long-running rehabilitation as she continued to teach in the years after her crimes, committed over a year in the 1980s.
Judge Ryan on Wednesday sentenced Lyons, 58, to three years in jail but suspended the sentence.
Lyons, of Rowville, pleaded guilty to two counts of gross indecency and two counts of indecent assault on a person under the age of 16.
Judge Ryan said the mother of two had manipulated and committed grave offences against a vulnerable victim.
“You breached the trust of the complainant, who was a child in your care,” he said.
“The harm done to the complainant by your offending is serious and long lasting.”
He said Lyons had exploited the religious beliefs she shared with the victim and her family to gain their trust and take the girl away on holiday with her own family, where she sexually abused her.
But he said Lyons had gone on to work as a dedicated teacher at a special school.
Lyons stood down from her role at the school when she was charged with the offences in 2011.
Judge Ryan said the school where Lyons had been teaching at the time of her offending was informed of the crimes but did not report them to police.
The victim contacted police in 2011.
Judge Ryan read character references from Lyons’ former colleagues who described her as an “exceptional educator” and “a person who put other people’s needs before her own”.
“Since the offences you have not only led a blameless life … but contributed greatly to the lives of others,” Judge Ryan told Lyons.
“By your work and care for others, you have undertaken a lengthy process of rehabilitation.”
Lyons’ three-year prison term was wholly suspended for 36 months.