Melbourne, Nov 22 (ANI): An Aussie housemistress has been charged with 34 counts of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated indecency after seven boys at the boarding school came forward with allegations of rape.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, the boys told police that the offences took place on the school grounds between February and June, reports News.com.au.
Their 40-year-old "house mother" had first been arrested in August over offences against one boy, but has since been charged with assaulting six other students after continuing police inquiries.
Her identity and the name of the school have been suppressed to protect the boys, but the revelations have rocked the exclusive school, among whose well-heeled alumni are former politicians, top-level sportsmen and the sons of several powerful Australian and international identities.
At the time of the alleged offences, the woman was employed by the school as a "caring" mother figure, organising beds and uniforms, and she lived in a flat adjoining the student dormitories.
She is alleged to have had sex with the seven boys under "aggravated circumstances" 24 times at the school this year, and under the Crimes Act, "aggravated"' is a term applied to sex acts committed with persons under the age of 16.
Court documents allege she had sex with a 11-year-old boy eight times while he was "under her authority" in the space of five months, and that she had sex with the other six boys in her care 14 times during the same period.
The woman, who is out on bail, is also accused of having committed an act of indecency in front of four of the boys in April this year. Court documents also allege the woman incited one of the boys, aged 12, to commit an act of indecency.
She has since been sacked from the school, which faces the prospect of more alleged victims coming forward as police investigations continue.
The woman arrived with her mother at Forster Local Court last week before walking into the adjacent police station, where she is required to report to officers three times a week.
She sat in the court's waiting room with her head on her mother's shoulder while waiting for her court hearing.
Detectives first arrested the woman on August 18 when she was charged with five child sex offences allegedly committed against one 12-year-old boy.
After intensive police investigations, six other boys came forward alleging they also had sex with the woman. She was rearrested and charged with an additional 29 child sex offences.
The charges include 24 counts of aggravated sexual intercourse with a child under 16, nine of aggravated indecency with a child under 16, and one count each of inciting a person under 16 to commit an act of indecency and committing an act of indecency with a child under 16.
In a brief mention of the matter, Magistrate Shaughan McCosker granted a continuing suppression order last week. (ANI)