Former teacher jailed for raping intoxicated teen at party
A FORMER Coffs Coast high school teacher has been jailed for raping a heavily intoxicated teenage girl at a Halloween party - telling her things like "you're so unconscious" while committing the assault.
Howard John Spearing, 62, was sentenced on two charges of sexual intercourse without consent at Coffs Harbour District Court today.
The court heard that the assault occurred at a Halloween party organised by Spearing's son on the night of October 26, 2018. Twenty to thirty guests, who were mostly teenagers, were in attendance.
The victim arrived dressed in a costume and it was heard Spearing gave her jello shots and several alcoholic drinks throughout the evening.
According to the police facts, Spearing began making comments about the victim's appearance - telling her "you're so hot" and "you're so sexy," before telling her she could sleep in his bed for the night.
The victim later told police she didn't think anything would happen as "he was my friend's Dad."
At around 2am the victim woke up feeling Spearing touching her genitalia, saying she was frozen in shock as he sexually assaulted her.
She jolted, and he backed off.
The victim then went outside and attempted to call her friend and sent her several texts asking for help.
She was picked up and later reported the assault to police, and Spearing was arrested that same day.
He made a number of admissions when interviewed by police.
When asked whether she had been sleeping at the time of the assaults, he responded "well I assume so, most of it, yes."
When asked whether he knew that she did not give consent, he said yes.
Spearing initially pleaded not guilty to the charges before changing his plea in August last year.
Judge Jonathan Priestly sentenced Spearing to 21 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12 months.
He will be eligible for parole in April 2021.
In December last year Spearing was convicted at Coffs Harbour Local Court after pleading guilty to a string of common assault charges pressed against him from four of his female students, aged between 12 and 13.
Spearing was the head of the HSIE Department at a high school in Coffs Harbour when the four victims reported the isolated assaults, with claims ranging from being prodded in the stomach to being hit on the buttocks between late 2017 and early 2018.
Spearing was stood down from his position by the Department of Education in 2018 following the complaints.
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.