Teacher sexually abused girl before she went to work at KFC
A physical education teacher has been jailed for five years after pleading guilty to having sex with his 14-year-old student before she started shifts at a regional Victorian KFC.
Ben Nathan Kelly, 41, admitted to one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16 in the early 2000s in Victoria's north.
"You took steps to avoid detection, which is indicative of your awareness of the wrongness of your conduct," Victorian County Court Judge Christopher Ryan said during sentencing.
Kelly, who was ten years older than his victim, started having sex with the victim after first sending her increasingly flirty text messages. He got her number through a friend of the schoolgirl.
"There was an aspect of your conduct towards your victim that could be characterised as grooming," Judge Ryan said.
The girl would sneak to the teacher's house for sex before her shifts at a local KFC.
Kelly even passed her a note during school which read: "I want to f*** you", the court was told on Friday.
Years later when the victim revealed what happened to a friend, Kelly became concerned and messaged the other woman.
He told her if the victim committed suicide, he would blame the woman.
"This was crude attempt by you to prevent the victim's friend from revealing to others the nature of the relationship with your victim and so avoiding the consequences," Judge Ryan said.
The 31-year-old victim told the court she felt "damaged" because of what happened to her as a schoolgirl and struggled with her mental health.
"It is sickening … my trust was betrayed without me even realising it," she said in a statement to the court.
The teacher was genuinely remorseful, suffered from depression and pleaded guilty at an early stage in the proceedings, the court was told.
He also worked in a remote indigenous community and donated to charities in Indonesia aimed at improving education in the country.
"If I could take it back I would. It kills me every day inside," Kelly told the victim's brother in a message.
Kelly was jailed for a maximum of five years but will be eligible for parole in three years.
He was also registered as a sex offender for life.
Originally published as Teacher had sex with girl before KFC shift