What would her sentence have been if she had not pleaded guilty?

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.


Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

9 thoughts on “What would her sentence have been if she had not pleaded guilty?”

  1. Just Like the Torah says(Sotah 7b):

    Admit to your wrongdoing: It will produce the best outcome.
    Nothing to be surprised about

    Sotah 7b

    AND SAY TO HER etc. Our Rabbis have taught: He tells her narratives and incidents which occurred in the early writings;13 for instance, Which wise men have told and have not hid it [from their fathers],14 namely Judah confessed and was not ashamed; what was his end? He inherited the life of the world to come. Reuben confessed and was not ashamed; what was his end? He inherited the world to come. And what was their reward? What was their reward [you ask]! It was as we have just mentioned. But [the meaning is], What was their reward in this world? Unto them alone the land was given, and no stranger passed among them.15 It is quite right with Judah; we find that he confessed, for it is written: And Judah acknowledged them, and said: She is more righteous than I.16 Whence, however, is it that Reuben confessed? — As R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Johanan: What means that which is written: Let Reuben live and not die; and this for Judah?17 All the years that the Israelites were in the wilderness, Judah’s bones18 kept turning in his coffin until Moses arose and begged mercy for him. He said before Him, Lord of the Universe, who caused Reuben to confess? It was Judah,19 [as it is stated], ‘And this for Judah’; immediately [after Moses prayed], ‘Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah’, each limb entered its socket.20 But [the angels] would not permit him to enter the heavenly Academy;21 [so Moses prayed], ‘And bring him in unto his people’. He was unable to discuss the theme which the Rabbis were then debating; [so Moses prayed], ‘With his hands let him contend for himself.22 He was still not able to secure a decision in accordance with the traditional practice; [so Moses prayed], ‘Be an help against his adversaries’.23 It is quite right that Judah confessed so that Tamar should not be burnt; but why did Reuben confess? Surely R. Shesheth has declared: Consider him shameless who [publicly] specifies his sins! — [Reuben confessed] so that his brothers should not be suspected [of his offence].


    1. I don’t know but I guess it’s to protect the kids at that school from a horde of journalists staking it out and perhaps even bringing unnecessary pressure. It’s undoubtedly a legal issue.


        1. In a Jewish School, Nebach, none of the perpetrators ever seem to plead guilty or admit they did wrong! They have to be chased and interrogated and then they cause a massive chilul HaShem by being on the front page if the paper for weeks or months.

          Look at the recent Kolko case where Rabonim like Rav Belsky were duped and got it wrong. Rabonim aren’t cops and when someone appears frum in any other way, they are taken for a ride.

          Wouldn’t it be SO much better if those who know that they have done wrong come forward, and plead guilty? THAT is the first step for Tshuva.

          Seems this female teacher did that, but our yiddalach aren’t even on her Madrega!


  2. 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.


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