10:29AM, Monday 14 March 2016
A teaching assistant who offered to perform a sex act on a teenager and sent him a picture of a sex toy has appeared in court.
Donna Brant, 37, of Kentons Lane, Windsor, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a male aged 13-17, for explicit texts she exchanged with a boy in 2015.
Brant, who worked as a teaching assistant at The Windsor Boys’ School, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Friday.
The court heard how she exchanged ‘explicit’ texts with the boy and ‘enjoyed the attention’.
In the three weeks that followed the court heard 2,500 text messages were exchanged between the two.
The messages did not stop until a family member of the teenager, ‘concerned about a change in his behaviour’, accessed his phone and saw some of the messages.
Prosecuting, Rebecca Austin, said the messages ‘became very explicit very quickly’.
“Jokingly or otherwise, she [Brant] made reference to the fact that if they [her employer] found out, she would go to prison,” she said.
“On one occasion she said she would perform a sex act on the boy if he told her he loved her.
“Whilst it was clear that the messages were instigated by the boy, they are encouraged by Brant. She did that because she enjoyed the attention.
The court heard Brant asked the boy to send proof that he was masturbating and he sent a picture by Snapchat.
The court was also told she sent him a picture of a dildo when ‘their discussion turned to what sex toys she had in her draw’.
Ed Butler, defending, said she had ‘enjoyed the attention’ but added it would be hard to see how the text messages ‘could have given anybody sexual arousal’.
He said: “It really is impossible to overstate the extent to which she has already suffered for this very serious, but not sinister lapse of judgement.”
He added that at the time of the offence Brant was living at her parents’ house with her family while her house underwent renovations and her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
“If your honour can hopefully understand just how difficult that must have been,” Mr Butler added.
Sentencing Brant, Judge Alexia Durran said: “You accepted that you had sent the message and you said that they were flirty and joking, and you denied pertaining any sexual gratification.
“I have read some of the messages and it is clear some of them are of an explicit nature.”
She also said the victim has been ‘left feeling out of place and paranoid’ since the offence.
Brant was given an 18-month community order with a 15-day rehab requirement and 180 hours unpaid work.
She was also ordered to pay £85 in costs and an application has been made to put her on the sex offenders register.
Speaking to the Express after the sentencing, The Windsor Boys’ School headteacher Gavin Henderson said Brant was suspended from the school immediately and later resigned.
He added as soon as the school was aware the teaching assistant was involved in ‘a situation’, it alerted the police.
“All staff are subject to rigorous checks before employment and are trained annually in safeguarding procedures,” he added.
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