Female teacher-student sex scandal: What classmates saw
Former students of a Toowoomba private school claim they witnessed inappropriate interactions between an adult female teacher and her young male student who is suing the woman over an alleged sexual relationship they had in the 1990s starting when he was aged just 13.
Witnesses called in the Brisbane Supreme Court civil trial have given varying accounts of interactions witnessed between the pair including one former student who claims to have seen the woman sitting on the boy's lap.
Another student gave evidence he spotted the pair together in the woman's classroom one evening when he was in Year 9 after another boy alerted him there was something going on and he went for a "stickybeak".
"We were looking through the, all the blinds were pulled and we looked through, and saw them, sort of, wrestling in the room by themselves, and then he picked her up and or they walked back onto a desk and she was sitting on the desk and he was standing between her legs," the former student told the court.
Another student who was a senior at the time gave evidence on another occasion he had gone to do a bed check of the boarding house as part of his duties and noticed the boy was not in his room so he went searching and found him in a classroom with the female teacher.
He said he and another student peeked through a gap of the window to see what was happening.
"We observed (the teacher) sitting on (the boy's) lap while he was working on a computer," he said.
Defence barrister Shane MacDonald put to the witness that he was mistaken and the teacher was sitting beside the student.
"No, no, he was definitely sitting on her lap," the witness responded.
Another former student gave evidence he did not remember seeing anything "out of the ordinary", saying the boy was among a number who got "special help" from the teacher in that room.
"But I did not see any out of ordinary activities going on," he said.
The plaintiff's barrister Brian Dooley SC put to the man that he had told the Deputy Principal he saw the teacher on the student's lap.
"Yeah, right - I don't recall saying that, no," the man responded.
"If you'd told (the deputy principal) back then, would that have been the truth you would've told him," Mr Dooley asked.
"It would've been, yes," the man said.
Another former student, who is now himself a teacher, gave evidence he witnessed an interaction between the student and teacher late one night when he looked out of the window of his room in the boarding house.
"The thing that I sort of remember most was the fact he at one point had taken her keys to the car and she'd been asking for them back," he said.
"It was sort of like her asking for the keys to come back to her but not in any sort of demanding way.
"At the time I thought it was a bit weird in regards to that's not really something that would be going on, especially at a boys boarding house at that late at night too."
The witness said the teacher and student closely interacted at other times too for example he would touch her arm in the lunch room.
"There was a feeling I suppose there wasn't really an established boundary between that's the student and that's the teacher," he said.
"I didn't witness any other student who would have that sort of relationship with her."
The man is suing the former teacher in the Supreme Court for more than $1 million, claiming their alleged relationship impacted his subsequent education and employment opportunities and left him with mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, and contributed to the breakdown of his marriage.
Originally published as Female teacher-student sex scandal: What classmates saw