A former teacher has escaped immediate jail after succumbing to her love for a troubled student by having lesbian sex in bushland in Perth. Elizabeth Anne Crothers, 50, received a two-year jail term, suspended for two years, in the West Australian district court yesterday after a jury found her guilty on one count of indecent dealing and one count of sexual penetration. In Western Australia, lesbian sex is legal at 16, but the age of consent rises to 18 when one of the couple is in a position of authority over the other – as in a teacher-student relationship. Crothers was tried on 21 counts of indecent dealing or sexual penetration of a pupil in her care between November 1998 to March 1999. She admitted having a full sexual relationship with the teenager but insisted it happened only after the girl left school in March 1999. A jury today cleared Crothers on 19 charges but found her guilty on one count of indecent dealing and one count of sexual penetration. Those charges related to Crothers digitally penetrating the girl and allowing the teen to digitally penetrate her in bushland in Perth's hills in February 1999. The girl told the court she shared her first sexual experience with Crothers who seduced her when she was a troubled student. Crothers, a mother of two, admits she was stupid to meet a student outside school. But she insisted it was not until 2000 that she began fondling and kissing the girl, engaging in mutual digital penetration and giving and receiving oral sex in a live-in relationship that lasted several years. Judge Michael Muller said the pair were in love and Crothers had resisted a sexual relationship with the "tortured" child until succumbing in an isolated incident. He found she had not groomed the girl for sex and encouraged her to leave school and home so Crothers could exploit her. "I cannot find you induced the girl to leave school to take advantage of her sexually," the judge said, but added that the breach of trust was very serious. He sentenced the weeping Crothers to two years on each count, to be served concurrently, and suspended the term for two years. She had faced a maximum penalty of 10 years for the sexual penetration and five for indecent dealing.
Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff
First published: Wednesday, 21st November 2007 - 11:01am
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