frankSYDNEY - A girl left broken and devastated after being sexually assaulted by her high school principal has finally achieved closure as he was sentenced in the NSW District Court, her family says.

But her mother says the sentence is far too lenient and they cannot bring themselves to think about him being released next year.


 

Frank Bailey, 46, the ex-principal of a Christian school at Grafton in northern NSW, was sentenced on Friday to nine more months in jail after pleading guilty to five counts of sexual intercourse over four days with a 16-year-old in his care.

Judge John North sentenced Bailey to at least two years and three months in prison, with a maximum sentence of three years and nine months, saying it was "difficult to think of a more blatant abuse of trust".

But with time already served he will be eligible for parole on August 8 next year.

The teenager's mother says his sentence is too light, and hopes he's not released at the end of his non-parole period.

"I pray that he's not released (in August) because I really can't comprehend that," the woman, who cannot be named, said outside court.

Describing her daughter as "her strength", the woman said the family had been through some terrible times, but was finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

"We've had our times where we've had to pick her up off the floor, had times we've had to drag her out of bed - but little by little, she's definitely getting there and this is good for her to see closure," the teary mother told reporters while standing near her daughter.

"I'm so proud of her, because she has stopped him ... I'm very proud of her, but to see what she went through, my heart's really broken.

"When I stand here and tell you that I've got a broken heart, hers has been smashed to pieces.

"She trusted him, she trusted him impeccably, absolutely - he was the principal of a Christian school. A Christian school, not just a public school."

In handing down Bailey's sentence, Judge North said his position as the girl's high school principal made his actions all the more abhorrent.

"From his seniority he knew that his actions were reprehensible and amounted to a gross abuse of trust," the judge said.

However, he acknowledged Bailey had shown strong signs of remorse and contrition in court and in a letter written to his victim.

"Committing these offences has had a devastating effect on his psychological state," he added.

During sentencing submissions, Bailey told the judge he had believed he was in love with the girl, adding he had mental issues and was lonely and drinking heavily at the time.

He had been on stress leave at the time of the offences, and was suffering from anxiety and depression - as a psychiatrist who he visited just weeks before confirmed to the court.

Bailey sat sobbing, with his head in his hands, rocking back and forth as his sentence was read to the court.

He will appear in Grafton Local Court via audio visual link from prison on December 7 on another matter.

-AAP