Posts Tagged ‘Mornington Peninsula’

Cooper - Simon Mitchell - Photo.

Ex Vic magistrate must pay for crime

March 5, 2015, 11:29 am

A former Melbourne magistrate who indecently assaulted two teenage boys in the 1980s has been ordered to pay one of his victims more than $70,000 compensation.

Simon Mitchell Cooper, 57, in 2013 pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault and was handed a suspended three-year jail term for his crimes committed in the 1980s.

One of his victims, who cannot be named, filed an application for compensation, saying he needed ongoing treatment for the psychological damage he suffered as a result of the attacks.

The victim, who was aged between 17 and 18 at the time of the assaults, said he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and a major depressive disorder.

Victorian County Court Judge Christopher O’Neill ordered Cooper to pay the victim $65,000 for pain and suffering, plus $2772 for past treatment and $6220 for future treatment.

Speaking outside the court on Thursday, the victim said the good thing about the result was the exposure gave other victims the belief to step forward.

“This will send another sign to the community that everybody should have confidence in the system, the judges, the courts, the police, to step forward and just tell their truth,” the victim said.

“There’s nothing to be scared about.

“For me, unfortunately, I’ve kept this inside for 35 years and I’m paying that price.”

Cooper, a former criminal prosecutor, became a magistrate in February 2012 but resigned following his arrest in 2013.


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Aide gets five years for sex with boy

By Daniella Miletic
County Court Reporter
November 5, 2005

A FEMALE teacher’s aide who sexually preyed on a 15-year-old student has been jailed for five years.

Cindy Leanne Howell, 36, worked at a high school on the Mornington Peninsula when she had a relationship with the student between February and October last year.

She pleaded guilty to one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16 and will serve a minimum term of 2½ years.

Howell was married and a mother of four. The victim was dating her daughter when the relationship began. On the first night he stayed at Howell’s house, she offered him oral sex.

Howell had sex with the teenager at her home, at his home, and in a car at a nearby beach. She once rubbed his penis under the table in class.

She also told another student at the school that the victim was “the best (sex) she had ever had”.

County Court judge Jan Pannam said that when the boy tried to end the relationship, Howell persisted. Eventually, the victim told the school principal who alerted his mother and the police.

“Although the victim indicated he did not wish to engage in sexual activity, you insisted,” Judge Pannam said.

Howell gave him gifts, including a bracelet, a ring, a double bed, a stereo and a PlayStation.

When police interviewed her last November, Howell said: “I know I enjoyed it and I most probably shouldn’t, but I did. I felt wanted again … I felt loved.”

The court was told Howell was addicted to alcohol and was severely depressed at the time. One psychologist diagnosed her with bipolar disorder.

Crown prosecutor Kieran Gilligan, at a previous hearing, compared Howell’s offence to that of physical education teacher Karen Ellis.

Ellis, who was jailed in May after admitting to an affair with a year 10 student, was yesterday released from the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre at the end of her six-month sentence. Ellis was originally handed a 22-month suspended term, but was jailed after an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ellis, who is now listed on a sex offenders’ register, will consider telling her story to a magazine, according to one of her lawyers who spoke to Channel Nine yesterday.



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