November 2005

Teacher admits indecent assault

A music teacher who admitted indecently assaulting a teenage boy has been given a six-month suspended sentence at Bangor Magistrates Court.

Laura-Anne Brownlee, 26, of Edenderry Village in Belfast, admitted six charges of indecent assault against the 15-year-old.

The offences took place over a two-week period in July 2004.

Brownlee, who has lost her teaching job and has moved to England, was also put on the sex offenders’ register.

The court heard that the indecent assaults started when Brownlee and her husband were staying with the teenager’s family at their holiday home.

A prosecution lawyer said the first incident happened after Brownlee asked the boy to kiss her on the cheek after sending him a text message telling him to meet her in the kitchen of the house.

He said that similar types of behaviour occurred on five other occasions between the 12 and 26 of July.

Brownlee was arrested and interviewed about the indecent assaults after her victim told a friend who in turn told the authorities.

She later pleaded guilty to six charges of indecent assault.

Her lawyer told the court that at the time of the offences, Brownlee had been having a nervous breakdown.

Passing sentence, the judge told the defendant that she had abused her position of trust and authority.

“His parents and the boy himself could no doubt believe or expect that when he went to attend activities in which you were involved, he would be safe and not suffer abuse of any kind,” he said.