A Brighton woman has been jailed after admitting a sexual relationship with her 16-year-old foster son.
The woman, who Brighton and Hove News is not naming to protect the identity of her victim, had been fostering the teenager since he was 11.
She was more than twice his age when they had full sex on about six occasions in the wake of a family bereavement.
Today, she was jailed for 40 months at Hove Crown Court after pleading guilty to having sex with a 16-year-old boy to whom she had a duty of care.
Sentencing, His Honour Judge Stephen Mooney said: “The victim was extremely vulnerable and you were effectively taking the place of his mother.
“When the victim was at his most vulnerable following a bereavement, you embarked on a sexual relationship with him.
“It’s difficult if not impossible to understand why you acted as you did but in doing so you betrayed the trust he had in you.
“You found him sexually attractive and groomed him and that resulted in him having sex with you.
“Ultimately you were discovered and arrested and admitted in due course what you had done.
“I have read what happened to you as a child and I find it makes it even more baffling to understand how you can possibly behave as you did being fully aware of the consequences on the person you were abusing.”
Prosecuting, Sarah Ellis said the relationship had come to light after the woman told her sister about a mystery man she was seeing who was half her age.
She talked about his stamina in bed and how she had been buying condoms and lubricant – and a pregnancy test.
Before long, she revealed the mystery man was in fact her foster son and that they were having sex about once a week.
After a few weeks, the sister told other members of their family, one of whom contacted social services, which led to the woman’s arrest.
Ms Ellis said: “The defendant said it just happened out of the blue. There was no relationship, no love. They had been messing around.
“The victim had looked into it to see what the age was to see when they could have sex.
“She said she had not felt like this for a long time.”
Defending, Anthony Warner said: “It’s unusual for the courts to come across a female sex offender.
“Her understanding was that it may have been inappropriate but it wasn’t an offence.
“Had she been aware that it would be unlawful, she certainly wouldn’t have gone down that path.
“The whole incident arises because of the circumstances where they were both upset because of the death of a family member.
“She should have known better but for whatever reason, on this occasion she transgressed.”
The woman was sentenced to 40 months in prison, made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and put on the sex offenders register for an indeterminate amount of time.
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