Jackie Mary Hays in court over alleged child grooming at Hunter school

ACCUSED: Jackie Hays leaving Raymond Terrace courthouse on Monday. Picture: Sam Rigney A FORMER female employee of a Hunter school allegedly groomed a male student for sex over a period of 14 months, according to court documents.
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Jackie Mary Hays, 50,appeared in Raymond Terrace Local Court on Monday charged with groom child for unlawful sexual activity, two counts of using acarriage service to groom a person under 16 years for sexual activityand two counts ofusing a carriage service to menace, harass or offend.

Ms Hays, who was represented by barrister Philip Massey, did not enter any pleas and the matter was adjourned to Newcastle Local Court on January 24, where it will be prosecuted by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The charge ofusing acarriage service to groom a person under 16 years for sexual activity carries a maximum of 10 years in jail.

Police say they established Strike Force Minnamorra in June this year to investigate allegations an employee at a Hunter school had been grooming two male students for sexual activity.

Detectives allege a number of explicit text messages and phone calls were sent between Ms Hays and a male student.

Investigations allegedly revealed a second student was also involved in sending and receiving messages and phone calls from Ms Hays, who the school’s principalsaid was a former member of the support staff.

Ms Hays is accused of trying to groom one of the malestudents for sexual activity between April, 2015, and June, 2016, according to court documents.

She is also accused of using a mobile phone to groom that student between 3.11pm and 8pm on September 21, 2016, and using a carriage service to menace or harass the second student between November and December, 2015.

In a statement addressed to parents after Ms Hays’s arrest, the principal said the school instigated the police investigation by reporting the allegations to the authorities.

“The school has been advised by police that a former member of our support staff has been charged with grooming and improper use of a telecommunications device in relation to two former students,” the statement says.

“The school first became aware of the allegations last year and immediately reported them to the police, Family and Community Services and the NSW Ombudsman.

“While we were not involved in the investigation or privy to the details, we understand that the charges are the result of investigations triggered by our reports.”

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