Teacher pleads guilty to sex with student

By Stephen Moynihan
August 18, 2004

Karen Ellis leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday after evidence was heard that she had a sexual relationship with a student last year.
Picture:Craig Abraham


A physical education teacher who had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy sent the student almost 500 text messages during their affair, court documents revealed yesterday.

The documents showed that Karen Louise Ellis, 36, of Eltham North, on one occasion had sex with the student before taking him to McDonald's for lunch then returning him to school.

Yesterday, in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, Ellis pleaded guilty to six counts of having sex with a child under 16.

A brief of evidence given to the court revealed Ellis had sex with the boy six times in October and November last year.

Ellis was a teacher at the school in Melbourne's northern suburbs, where she met the boy, now 16. She resigned from the school last December after a police investigation. Court documents said the boy is now estranged from his family.

In a statement to police, the boy's mother said she noticed a change in her son's behaviour during the time of the affair. She said her son became defensive when she asked where he had been and that he had begun to shower when he came from school.

On November 24, the boy's mother said she drove past the school and had seen her son walking with the teacher before getting into Ellis' car. "I could see they were walking close together and they looked lovey-dovey," she said.

She became suspicious and telephoned the school to find out why her son had got into Ellis' car. The documents revealed that Ellis was not rostered to teach that day.

The next day, the boy's mother took her son's mobile and drove to a neighbour's house, where the two women discovered that all messages and call lists had been deleted from the phone's memory.

While at her neighbour's house, Ellis sent a message to the boy that appeared to be from "Kevin". She told police that when her friend dialled the number, Ellis answered. In his statement, the boy said Ellis first approached him in August or September outside the school's basketball stadium.

Ellis told police that the boy said to her if he was able to score a goal then she would have to kiss him. The pair then kissed briefly on the lips. Afterwards they continued to meet and talk in the stadium's office. On another occasion the pair French kissed for the first time. "I couldn't believe that we were doing it," the boy told police.

On October 10, the pair had sex in the master bedroom of Ellis' Eltham North home. They had sex another five times until November 24. The documents showed that Ellis had sex with the boy when her husband was "either at work or away on business".

A mother of three, she initially denied the affair to police saying she didn't want to get the boy into trouble. She said it was more than a "student-teacher relationship" but denied they had sex. The boy told police the sex was consensual.

A phone records search revealed Ellis had texted the boy 499 times between October and January this year. She had called him 50 times, spending almost 31/2 hours on the phone and had received 123 voicemail messages from him. The documents showed there had been contact between the boy and Ellis even after the police investigation.

Magistrate Dan Muling ordered Ellis to appear in the County Court in November.