Teacher jailed for sexual abuse of student

A FORMER Ipswich teacher has been convicted of sexually abusing a 13-year-old student after plying him with drugs and alcohol.

Luke Euthimios Margaritis was 26 when he met the boy while teaching at St Edmund's College and arranged visits at his Limestone St home before and after school.

There, he would give the boy alcohol and the drug amyl nitrite, an inhalant which affects consciousness and cognition.

The boy was then forced to watch pornographic films with his teacher and perform sexual acts on him.

The offences occurred between February and December 1995 but the victim did go to police until early last year.

In sentencing the man at Brisbane District Court, Judge John Baulch SC said his behaviour had been "calculating and predatory".

The victim, now 31, spoke to The Queensland Times and said the teacher's actions had affected every aspect of his life.

"I have no possible way to know how my life could have turned out," he said.

"It has affected relationships to the point of having trouble with intimacy and trusting people.

"He preyed on the fact I was a young, vulnerable and impressionable boy.

"I believe that if he had not done the sexual and emotional things he had done to me I would have been much better prepared to deal with life in a better way but (he) took advantage of me as being an easy target to prey on.

"I still have nightmares about the offending. Whether I will ever be able to forget and move on from this is impossible to tell."

The jury took three hours to convict the teacher, now 45, of one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16 and eight counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16.

He was also convicted of one count of supplying a dangerous drug with circumstances of aggravation.

He was sentenced to five years' prison.

The victim said he was too afraid to tell his parents about the abuse, and dropped out of school in year 11 because it became too much for him to see the teacher every day.

"When I first met him in Grade 5 he was one of the cool teachers," he said.

"He used to let the boys wag school and hand in assignments late."

St Edmund's College principal Brendan Lawler said St Edmund's College regarded any matter involving harm to a child as completely abhorrent.

"This behaviour goes against the very essence of our values," Mr Lawler said.

"On behalf of Edmund Rice Education Australia I extend a sincere apology to the victim and his family for the hurt and harm that have been caused by this gross abuse of trust.

"Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and St Edmund's College are committed to the highest standards of student protection and have co-operated fully with police in relation to this matter."

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