And she wasn't sentenced to jail at first
According to the past, it seems like women teachers who start up wholly inappropriate relationships with their students get off far easier than their male counterparts. The women are usually young and often beautiful, which tends to distract the public from the fact that they’re child predators — even when they plead guilty to heinous crimes.
Like so many female predators before her, Caroline Berriman escaped jail time for her egregious crimes against a minor, likely thanks to her appearance. People were so outraged by her sentence that they demanded a different set of judges do something far more drastic.
Caroline Berriman of Oldham, Lancashire, was a 28-year-old teaching assistant at the Abraham Moss Community School. At that time, she met a 15-year-old boy that she soon set her sights on. The unidentified boy explained that she spent more time with him than other students in the classroom. They got closer during one-on-one tutoring sessions.
Eventually, they started chatting through Facebook and text messages, until she finally asked him to come over to her house.
When he visited Caroline and her young daughter at her house, they would watch movies and just “hang out” most of the time. The boy began visiting Caroline four to five days a week, and she told her daughter to call him her father.
Caroline started molesting the juvenile as things escalated between them. Over a period of fewer than five months, Caroline coerced the boy into unprotected sex over 80 times. The boy thought that they were “ordinary lovers” and even moved in with her for a few weeks.
When Caroline told him that she was pregnant and would get the baby aborted, he realized that the situation wasn’t right. He called ChildLine saying that he was suicidal.
Caroline was swiftly arrested and charged with two counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust. At the Manchester Crown Court in September, she pled guilty to the charges, but was given a shockingly lenient punishment of two years suspended sentence.
She was also placed under a restraining order and told not to contact the boy who has since left the school.
The public complained about the rather ridiculous sentence, and Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP referred the case to the Court of Appeals. Lord Justice Treacy, Mrs. Justice Elizabeth Laing, and David Maddison gave Caroline what they believed to be a more fitting punishment.
Lord Justice Treacy said of the ruling:
“The victim was a youth for whom the offender had responsibility in her role as a teaching assistant. She knew her initial contact with him was entirely wrong but persisted and then enabled and allowed it to develop into a legally prohibited sexual relationship. She did so fully aware of the consequences for her if she was found out. She is an intelligent and well qualified young woman who was at the time nearly twice his age.”
Caroline will now have to serve two years in prison which the justices feel is “clearly necessary and proportionate.”
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