Ex-teacher sentenced after molesting former student
From wigs and beanies to outfit changes and umbrellas, a former Goulburn schoolteacher has gone to great lengths to disguise herself from the media, after molesting a 15-year-old boy she used to teach.
Cassandra Hingeley tried to hide her identity with sunglasses and a black hoodie as she arrived at Wollongong Local Court on January 29, where she was set to be sentenced for sexually touching a child between 10 and 16 years and incite child between 10 and 16 to sexually touch, after flirty Instagram messages lead to a late night meet up with a teenage boy.
The 39-year-old ditched the disguise once in court, where Magistrate Jillian Kiely labelled her behaviour as an abuse of power, sentencing her to an eight-month jail term with an 11-week non-parole period.
"She was a teacher and this type of offending needs to be dealt with utter denunciation," she said.
" … She knew him (the boy) from teaching and it's important that children attending our schools are safe".
With time already served, Hingeley was able to walk free from court on Wednesday, hiding behind her mother and legal representative.
According to court documents, Hingeley first met the boy several years ago while he was a student at the primary school she taught at.
Sometime later he tracked Hingeley down on Instagram, finding her through her handle "Cass in the Country".
Over a number of weeks, Hingeley and the teenage boy exchanged messages and photos via social media, at times discussing the possibilities of meeting up and having sex.
Just a few days before Christmas in 2017, Hingeley messaged the teenager, telling him "you know I was thinking of coming down this weekend".
At the time, Hingeley was living in Taralga, while the teen was living elsewhere.
After receiving Hingeley's message, the victim responded telling her he could "easily" sneak out to meet her.
She then responded with "F*ck I'm seriously thinking about coming down now. How much do you want it."
After the victim responded with "so f***ing much", court documents say Hingeley got in her car and made the two-hour and 10 minute drive to meet the teen.
After picking the teenager up from his home, the pair drove around the Illawarra and "talked for a while", before deciding to head to a local beach.
Once they arrived, Hingeley and the victim walked down to the beach, where court documents say they "kissed and hugged". The pair then started to "touch each other". According to the documents, with the consent of the teenager, Hingeley started to stroke his groin area from the outside of his pants, before he began to touch her breasts and vagina.
After walking back to the car, Hingeley drove the victim to a nearby location, where she left him to wait for a lift at 1.30am.
The 39-year-old was arrested on January 14 last year, after the boy told a Life Without Barriers employee about the tryst.
On Wednesday, the court heard Hingeley had a history of depression which she had been medicated for on and off, and at the time of her offending was suffering from "social isolation" as her job took her away from family and friends.
Her defence lawyer told that court that since the incident, the 39-year-old has moved back to her family in Raymond Terrace and that she is undertaking new TAFE courses to train in a different vocation.
Magistrate Kiely also sentenced Hingeley to a three-tear community corrections order, and put an AVO in place to prevent her from contacting the young victim for a period of at least two years.