James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Dance teacher, 48, spared jail after bombarding boy, 13, with 'intensely sexual' texts
5 April 2022, 14:57
A dance teacher who inundated a 13-year-old boy with "intensely sexual" messages has been spared jailed today.
Listen to this article
Bournemouth Crown Court was told Jennifer Hesse "bombarded" a young dance student with "outpourings of love" over Whatsapp, causing the teen to become "stressed out and embarrassed".
The 48-year-old encouraged the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to be "touchy" around her for her own sexual gratification despite the boy asking her to leave him alone.
In one message she told him: "I need you to be touchy all the time."
In another she said she felt "an odd combination of dizziness and calm" and that she "could not breathe" when he was with her.
The teacher also repeatedly told the boy she loved him.
Texts read out in court also showed Hesse instructing the teen to quickly delete the messages so that his parents would not know she had been in contact.
When the victim told Hesse that he had a girlfriend she became jealous.
Later the boy's mum found the messages and reported the incident to the police.
The mother-of-two was found guilty of sexual communication with a child to gain sexual gratification following a trial, and was sentenced to a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, on Tuesday at Bournemouth Crown Court.
Nicola Talbot-Hadley, prosecuting, told the court: "The victim gave evidence in which he rejected that he had a crush on Mrs Hesse and the jury also rejected this version of events.
"The jury were given a great deal of messages between them. It was extremely intense and emotionally pressurising.
"It often took place late at night and the defendant was under the influence of alcohol some of the time.
"The messages were sexualised and there was reference to 'touch and tease'. She repeatedly told him she loved him.
"This was an abuse of trust.
"It became his 'new normal' that he had to deal with such intense and pressurised messages. They left him stressed out and embarrassed.
"It is clear that he did not want to go to the dance school through fear of meeting Mrs Hesse."
In a letter given to the judge by Hesse, she detailed that she had trouble understanding boundaries whilst Audrey Archer, mitigating, said the defendant was suffering from an unhappy marriage, "unacknowledged depression and childhood trauma".
"This feels unforgivable and breaks my heart. I would like to step back in time and change what I have done," she wrote.
"All I can do now is work on my mental health and make sure I never make the same mistake again."
Judge Richard Onslow said during the sentencing: "You were treating him as a romantic figure knowing all the while that he was 13.
"You bombarded him with messages and would not listen when he said, 'please stop'. He found it very difficult to deal with.
"You put a heavy burden on him to satisfy what you perceived to be your needs. Some of these messages were for the purposes of sexual gratification."
On top of the suspended prison sentence Hesse must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work and was given a restraining order and a sexual harm prevention order forbidding her from contacting boys under 16 without the consent of their parent or guardian for five years.
She will be placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.