A former high school teacher who raped a student has shared a long embrace with her partner in court, relief etched all over her face as she learnt she would not be taken back to jail.
But the threat of more time behind bars still hangs over Lee Brown's head after she was placed on a good behaviour order and directed on Monday to complete 200 hours of community service as part of a 12-month suspended prison sentence.
In an unusual set of circumstances, Brown has already served three months in a NSW jail for sex crimes involving the same victim, who was her student at Yass High School at the time of the offending.
The 61-year-old appeared in the ACT Supreme Court for her latest sentence on Monday, having most recently pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in sexual intercourse without consent in Canberra.
The court has heard the incident in question pre-dated the interstate offences, and took place during school holidays in January 2007.
Brown has admitted that one night that month, in a backyard shed at the Higgins property where she lived, she kissed the victim, touched her genitals and performed oral sex on her.
The victim claimed Brown had also digitally penetrated her, but Justice John Burns had to disregard that allegation in June after he was unable to find beyond reasonable doubt that it was true.
On Monday, Justice Burns said he accepted that Brown's behaviour on the date in question had not been predatory in the sense that she had lured the then-teenage victim to her home for the purpose of having sex.
Rather, it was spontaneous and did not involve any great premeditation, he said, in contrast to Brown's subsequent crimes in NSW.
This offence was nonetheless a serious breach of trust given Brown's position of authority over the victim, who was unable to legally consent to sex because of the teacher-student relationship, the judge said.
Justice Burns said the victim had described feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed during the incident, and torn between wishing Brown would stop and not wanting to anger her teacher.
He told Brown her offending had clearly had "a continuing detrimental effect" on the victim, who provided an impact statement revealing the many years of psychological trauma and feelings of shame she had suffered since the experience.
The victim last week read the statement aloud, telling the court she was still haunted by flashbacks to the incident more than 13 years later.
"My first experience of sex was sexual abuse," the victim said.
"[Brown] told me that I had obviously wanted it to happen."
In sentencing, Justice Burns said Brown had lost her long-held career as a teacher when she was forced to resign after the victim confided in her mother.
The court heard Brown had ending up working at Canberra's jail for seven years as a prison guard, but she lost that job as well when she was charged with the NSW offences.
Justice Burns also referred extensively to Brown's own childhood trauma and the impact it had had on her life.
He said experts had documented the 61-year-old's history of mental health issues including persistent depressive disorder, which had played a role in her offending behaviour.
Ultimately, Justice Burns found Brown had "excellent" prospects for rehabilitation and was unlikely to reoffend.
He said she had demonstrated great insight into her offending, as well as having expressed "intense shame" at her actions and concern for the victim.
The judge agreed with expert evidence that another stint in jail, where Brown spent about 22 hours a day in her cell in 2018, would have had a significant adverse effect on her mental health.
Handing down the suspended jail sentence on Monday, Justice Burns said he had also taken into account that Brown's rehabilitation would be aided by the "very supportive" relationship she had been in for the last eight years.