The Blenheim teacher who admitted sexually abusing two schoolboys has abandoned a bid to keep her identity a secret and can now be named.

Jaimee Marie Cooney, 37, is understood to be the first female teacher in New Zealand convicted and sentenced for sexual offending against students.

And it was confirmed in court that Cooney - the wife of a police officer and mother of two - did not dispute having sexual relationships with other older boys.

But she has not been charged with any further offences to date.


In December the 37-year-old was sentenced in the Blenheim District Court to two years and six months in jail for her offending.

She was also placed on the child sex offender's register.

Sex offending Blenheim school teacher faces Christmas, 10 years in prison

She had earlier pleaded guilty to a raft of charges relating to two teenage boys who she sexually abused, often in cars parked in public places, and in school lunch breaks.

Judge Tony Zohrab said the offending was "a gross breach of trust".

He said no one should have been more attuned to the needs off young men growing up than a trained teacher.

"It's difficult enough without these sorts of things occurring," he said.

"Your role was a pastoral one ... you have seriously compromised your obligations."


He refused an application for permanent name suppression.

Last week Cooney filed an appeal against that refusal which was set to be heard in the High Court at Blenheim this Friday.

However, last evening her lawyer Miriam Radich notified the Herald that Cooney was abandoning that appeal.

At sentencing, Judge Zohrab said the community had a right to know the sex offender's identity.

The Crown and the Herald both opposed the order.

The boys speak: 'I didn't want to do it'

In October Cooney pleaded guilty to seven charges of unlawful sexual connection with minors, and one of exposing a minor to indecent material over a year-long period.

Some of the charges were representative, meaning the acts happened numerous times.

She was a teacher at Marlborough Boys' College at the time but has since had her teaching registration cancelled.

Cooney admitted having sex with two 15-year-old boys in parked cars in public places, often telling one victim she loved him and showing them explicit videos.

The police summary of facts, supplied to the Herald by the court, revealed the woman had formed sexual relationships "with a number of students".

The prosecution relates to two of those boys.

At sentencing Crown Prosecutor Mark O'Donoghue said there were a number of aggravating factors, including the vulnerability of victims, age discrepancy between Cooney and her victims, and duration of offending.

"She's gone out of her way to target them in a sexually exploitative way," he said.

"There was a significant breach of trust, [she] attempted to manipulate, coerce and control the victims with threats of self harm.

"This was sexually exploitative conduct by an adult ... she emotionally manipulated both boys."

O'Donoghue read from the main victim's impact statement.

"She made me worry about her as when I tried to stop what was happening she told me she would harm herself … this is not fair, she should not have put that burden on me," he wrote in the brief statement.

The second victim said in his statement: "I am ashamed."

He said when he tried to stop the abuse the woman locked herself in a car and started cutting herself with scissors.

"I did not want to do it anymore," he said.

The boys were not in court for the sentencing.

O'Donoghue said both came from families and cultural backgrounds where they were "private and reserved".

"It's hard to say stop to a person in authority, and it's even harder to stop it once it's started," he said.

In a letter to the court Cooney referred to herself as a "sex offender".

"And that is what she is," O'Donoghue said.

Radich did not respond to the Herald's request for that letter.

The court heard it was meant for the community but it was not shared publicly in full.

Cooney's sentencing lawyer Jonathan Eaton said his client was still struggling to comprehend and articulate why she offended.

"But the clear message is that she does take full responsibility for her offending," he said.

She wrote a letter intended for the victims, school and wider community.

In it she stated she was aware of the impact her offending - described as "disgusting" by locals - had on her town.

"I make no excuses for what I have done and I am here today to face the victims and the community," she wrote.

"I am ready to do that."

Eaton submitted the offending was "not degrading".

But Judge Zohrab called him out - saying surely a 15-year-old boy being involved in a three-way sex act in a car "with someone old enough to be his mother" had to be at least demeaning.

"I don't see that as vanilla sex," the judge said.

Eaton said the only aggravating factor was the boys' age.

He said they were big athletes and there was no degree of physical intimidation by their then teacher.

Judge Zohrab interrupted him and pointed out that might have been the case but they had "bodies of men, minds of children".

Eaton said the woman was not a classroom teacher for either of the boys but he accepted her breach of trust was "up there".

The woman's second defence lawyer Miriam Radich spoke about her "long-running struggles with mental illness".

She said the woman had done "her very best" to signal her genuine remorse and would continue to do so in future.

The offending would weigh heavily on her mind for the rest of her life, her lawyer said.

Radich read from the offender's letter.

"I would like to express my deep regret to the victims and their families … you were students and I was the teacher," she wrote.

"I am deeply sorry I have hurt you and brought shame to your families.

"It was only me that was in the wrong and you have nothing to be ashamed of."

She said she was "so sorry" the school had suffered because of her offending.

Radich said she would "for a long time" be "defined by and identified for" her offending.

However, those who knew her were totally shocked and the offending went against everything they knew of her and her wider family's values.

She had no previous convictions, had excelled at uni and in her career and was known - before the offending came to light - as a community-minded and highly contributing member of society.

Radich said the woman's husband stood by her.

In sentencing Judge Zohrab was firm and sent a clear message to Cooney.

"You were a teacher ... this is not a situation of you being a young female teacher ... you were a mature woman, you had a senior leadership role in the community," he said.

"Parents were sending their children to the college to be educated and nurtured ... you have breached that trust."

Further, he said the woman used her mental health to manipulate the boys.

The abuse was "demeaning".

"Effectively there was grooming and premeditation on your part over a long period of time," Judge Zohrab said.

At sentencing Cooney was supported by her sister and a group of friends.

They sat at listened as the court heard she started to send the first victim text messages when he was just 14.

The pair spent increasing amounts of time together and became "flirty".

Eventually the relationship became sexual, with the teacher leading the boy into escalating intimate activity.

When he tried to end the "relationship" she would tell him she would kill herself.

She would send him explicit photographs and video-called him from her home, exposing her breasts and genitals.

The abuse of the second boy began when the first victim engaged him in an online chat with him and the teacher.

The three had a sexual connection the next day and the abuse of the second victim continued after that.

When arrested, the sex offender refused to speak to police.

The Herald sought an interview with Blenheim police about the offending, arrest and prosecution which has been extremely high profile.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ciaran Sloan refused.

"Marlborough police will not be making any comment on this," he said via email.

"Media from police if any will come from the police media hub."

The Herald then sought comment from Police National Headquarters.

"I have now had an opportunity to speak with the appropriate staff regarding this matter," a spokeswoman said.

"I can advise that police won't be making any comments following the sentencing for this matter."

They refused to say if new complainants had come forward and made allegations or if further charges relating to other boys were likely.

The principal in place at the school when the woman's offending took place has recently resigned and he did not respond to requests for comment.

However, the board of trustees chairman later provided a statement conceding the school had effectively mishandled concerns relating to Cooney.

Further he said had the concerns been acted on properly, she could have been stopped months earlier.


If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.​

If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact the Safe to Talk confidential crisis helpline on:

• Text 4334 and they will respond

• Email

• Visit for an online chat

Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.

If you have been abused, remember it's not your fault.