Female Support Teacher Blames Weight Drug For Grooming Boy
A female member of staff at a NSW school says a weight loss drug dramatically increased her sex drive, which led her to spend more than a year grooming a 15-year-old boy for sex.
Jackie Mary Hays, 51, claimed she began taking the drug Duromine four months before she targeted the teenage student when working as a support staff member at the Hunter Valley school.
Hays, who pleaded guilty to grooming the boy for sexual activity between April 2015 and June 2016, claimed the weight loss drug increased her sex drive.
Legal Aid defence lawyer Gillian Jewison told Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday that Hays would be making an application suggesting the drug had caused her to suffer mental health issues at the time of the offence.
Prosecutor Stuart Ogilvy indicated the application - which came on the day Hays was due to be sentenced - would be opposed.
Magistrate Robert Stone, who spent Wednesday's lunch break reading a psychological report tendered by the defence, noted that some of Hays' friends "observed she was off the planet" after taking the drug.
Mr Stone pointed out it was difficult to assess the seriousness of the offence given he did not know the content of explicit text messages sent by Hays to the schoolboy.
When the matter was first reported to police, the boy's phone was no longer in existence, and police could not retrieve the text messages.
Mr Ogilvy said when Hays was interviewed by detectives she described the text messages as "filth".
She told police the boy was asking to have sex with her and she told him it could be arranged.
"I said (to the boy) sure, absolutely, no problem," Hays told police.
The teenager told police Hays wanted him to sneak out of home one night but he "dodged it pretty well".
Mr Ogilvy urged the magistrate to jail Hays given she was 47 at the time she was sending explicit text messages back and forth to the boy.
The prosecutor said the community expected offenders committing crimes of this nature to receive a significant penalty.
The magistrate noted a significant factor in the case against Hays - who faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail - was the need to protect the community.
Hays was initially charged in mid-2017 with five offences alleging she had been sending explicit text messages and phoning two students but four of the charges were later dropped after she agreed to plead guilty to the one count of grooming a child for unlawful sexual activity.
Police set up Strikeforce Minnamorra before Hays' arrest after being alerted by the school to the grooming allegations.
The hearing resumes on Thursday.