23-year-old woman stands trial in Armidale District Court accused of sexual intercourse with male students at New England school

Jury empanelled: The trial continues in Armidale District Court. Photo: Gareth Gardner
Jury empanelled: The trial continues in Armidale District Court. Photo: Gareth Gardner

THE trial of a school staff member charged with sexually abusing students at a New England school has been told the woman contacted her alleged victims multiple times.

The 23-year-old accused cannot be identified after an extensive suppression order was placed on the trial, which started on Wednesday in Armidale District Court.

A 12-member jury was empanelled by Judge Jennifer English before Crown prosecutor Max Pincott made his opening address.

The name, location and type of school has been suppressed by the court with an extensive non-publication order placed on much of the details surrounding the case, to protect the alleged victims, who were students at the school at the time of the alleged offending.

The woman was not employed as a teacher but was a member of staff, before she was arrested and charged after presenting to Manly Police Station on November 5, 2015.

Mr Pincott told the jury in his opening address that detectives had not recovered all of the text messages and “we have not recovered the Facebook messages”.

He said one of the students would detail evidence in the trial that he and the accused had sexual intercourse three to four times a week for the first school term in 2015.

Mr Pincott told the jury during the first term in 2015, the accused sent a text message to one of the alleged victims and said she believed people had found out and “couldn’t continue”.

He said that in a text message that been recovered, the accused allegedly said in term two of the school year that she would meet the boy for sex.

“At the time these events occurred the boys were under the special care of the accused,” Mr Pincott said.

He told the jury the accused had asked more than one of her alleged victims to save her number in their phone under a different name.

Mr Pincott said in September, 2015, staff “became aware of the allegations” and the accused was spoken to and suspended.

The woman has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 17 under care, two counts of aggravated sexual intercourse with a child under 16, and six counts of sexual intercourse with a child under care aged between 17 and 18.

The trial, which is set down to run for four weeks, continues.