Wellington teacher jailed for sexual abuse of student

Stacey Reriti (3 News)
Stacey Reriti (3 News)

A 14-year-old boy sexually abused by his teacher says his childhood was stolen by her because of her offending.

Former Wellington teacher Stacey Renee Reriti has been jailed for 10 years and six months for the sexual relationship she had with a pupil, which began when he was 10.

Reriti appeared for sentencing in the Wellington High Court this morning. A jury had previously found her guilty on seven charges in relation to the boy.  

The 31-year-old had sought permanent name suppression, but it was declined.

Justice Mark Woolford said her offending was likely to have devastated the small, tight-knit school.

During the trial last month, the court heard how the relationship went from kissing to oral sex and then to sexual intercourse in a motel room when the boy was 12.

Reriti also gave the boy a cellphone and they exchanged a number of X-rated text messages.

Crown prosecutor Dale LaHood said during the time of the offending between 2012 and 2014, the boy's father was "extremely unwell" and had died.

"Far from being a compassionate supporter during this period, she manipulated this situation for her own emotional and sexual ends," Mr LaHood says.

He called it an “extreme” breach of trust, as she was the boy's teacher and in a leadership position as deputy principal.

The offending was also premeditated, with elements of grooming and manipulation, he said.

While the boy wanted some of the sexual acts to happen, the "real harm [of the offending] won't be known for some time".

Mr LaHood argued for a starting point of 14 to 15 years in prison, and that no distinction be made between genders.

He asked how the courts would have responded if it was a male teacher and a female student.

Reriti's lawyer Stephen Iorns said she had been suffering serious mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of similar offending on her.

However, Justice Woolford said little evidence had been submitted to support that claim.

Mr Iorns says before the offending, Reriti was "on track to have a very impressive career".

He noted she was "well-regarded" by some of the Crown witnesses during the trial as being a good teacher.

"That's in stark conflict with the matter which brings her to court today."

He said she was a passionate teacher, but she recognises her career is now over.

Reriti had no previous convictions and no experience with the criminal justice system.

Justice Woolford said Reriti had been charged with sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection because a woman cannot be charged with rape.

He read part of the boy's victim impact statement in which he said he'd been called a liar for his reporting of the relationship.

"Understandably, he's angry at you. He feels like his childhood has taken away from him."

The boy says as his teacher, Reriti "should have known better" and school should be a safe place.

He now is suspicious of female teachers in general.

Justice Woolford said Reriti showed no remorse and while awaiting trial, in a "stunning lack of judgement", had sent a former student pictures of her breasts when the student asked for them.

No minimum period of imprisonment was imposed, but Justice Woolford warned Reriti if she didn't engage with therapy it was likely the Parole Board would decline any application for parole.

3 News