An Australian high school teacher who sexually assaulted a student has had his prison term almost halved on appeal.
David Croxon, from Shoalhaven High School in New South Wales (NSW), used his position as a careers adviser to isolate and interfere with his teenage victim on school grounds. She would later tell a court that the abuse left her "irreversibly changed".
Croxon pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault and was was sentenced to 11 years and five months' jail in September.
But on Wednesday, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal cut the term to five years, 11 months, finding the sentencing judge had erred in accumulating Croxon's sentence.
The decision means Croxon, 43, who has since himself been assaulted in prison, will become eligible for release on August 25, 2019, after serving a non-parole period of four years and six months.
The teen went to see him in late 2014 for help compiling her resume. He invited her into the school staffroom for toast, telling her this was a special treat, then closed the door.
The girl was buttering the toast when Croxon groped her for an extended period from behind. Parting ways afterwards, he told her, "I swear to God if you tell anyone I'll kill myself, I'll lose my kids and stuff, my house".
He created an email account for her to use as part of the preparation of the resume. Months later, police would find an unread email there from an address listed as "DAVE SXY".
"Hey it's Dave you did something naughty with last Friday," it read.
At the start of the 2015 school year, he arranged a pass in order to excuse the girl from class. He took her to an empty classroom, where she chose a desk nearest to the exit because, she would later tell police, she felt sick and anxious.
Croxon moved his chair towards her and shared his plan for them to meet that weekend and "go somewhere". The girl, who did not have a job, lied and told him she had to work.
He then digitally raped the teen, telling her, "I know this is wrong but I just want a taste".
The distraught teen disclosed the abuse to a friend and the pair reported Croxon to the principal, who contacted her parents and police.
Croxon initially justified his offending, indicating the teen had "enjoyed it" and that she "would come down and flirt with me".
Croxon was commuting to the school from his Flinders home when the abuse occurred.
The appeals court heard he had no criminal record and was a person of prior good character who presented a low risk of sexual reoffending.
He has been seriously assaulted twice inside prison, and as a result has been placed in limited association with other inmates.
The arrangements have eliminated his ability to undertake work or study while serving his sentence.
'I know this is wrong': Australian teacher raped student in classroom Illawarra Mercury07, September 10 2017