Australian private school teacher breaks down in court and apologizes to a mother for having sex with her 17-year-old son
43-year-old Sonia Ruth Mackay acknowledged her wrongdoing and said she was 'deeply sorry' for her indecent actions
An Adelaide teacher who admitted to having a sexual relationship with an underage boy broke down while apologizing to his parents in court. The 43-year-old private school teacher, Sonia Ruth Mackay, who had previously pleaded guilty to the persistent exploitation of a 17-year-old boy read out a letter of apology at the Adelaide Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, November 21.
According to ABC News, the court first heard emotional impact statements from both the victim and his parents before Mackay read out her apology. The teen said his "dreams were shattered and stolen" and that he was "purely being used" with the 43-year-old admitting she was wrong.
"I acknowledge I committed an unlawful sexual relationship with a student," she read. " I know what I did was wrong. I know I abused [the student's] caring nature at a time when he needed support," adding she was "deeply sorry" for her indecent actions.
The court heard from the boy's mother that Mackay had asked for her son's number under the guise of helping him with his school work and that the teacher had subsequently exploited her son and stolen his innocence. "He didn't return home for days at a time," she said. "I had no idea where he was sleeping or who he was with, was he safe, or worse."
"When he attempted to come home she bought him expensive underwear and gifts so he had no excuse but to stay with her," she added. The mother also revealed that the 43-year-old had given her son drugs and alcohol, let him drive her car even though he was without a license and encouraged him to skip school.
She said the teacher had manipulated the teen's emotions and "carelessly destroyed him", describing how Mackay had even come to their home while they were away and tried to coax her son into having sex with her on his childhood bed. The court also heard how Mackay had sent the teen sexually explicit text messages and that his DNA was found on sheets at the home the teacher shared with her husband and young children.
The abuse stopped after their illicit relationship was brought to the attention of the school principal. Mackay was then taken into custody by detectives from the Special Crimes Unit in December last year, with a letter sent to parents informing them of her suspension.
While the official age of consent in South Australia is 17, the age is increased to 18 if one of the parties is in a position of authority over the other, which is what the prosecution argued during the hearing. The prosecutor told the court that Mackay had also manipulated the teenager and threatened self-harm so she could keep their relationship going and called for an immediate term of imprisonment, calling the teacher's offenses a "gross breach of trust by a teacher".
Presiding Judge Liesl Chapman continued Mackay's bail and ordered her to appear in court in December again for her sentencing hearing.