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I Had Sex with a Student: What’s Going to Happen to Me?
September 8, 2014
Parents send their children to schools in Harris County, Texas to ensure they receive a well-rounded education. What they don’t want is to have their child become the target of a predator, which is why Texas has enacted laws against improper relationships between educators and students. Found in Section 12.12 of the Texas Penal Code, it involves:
An employee of a “public or private primary or secondary school” who engages in sexual activity with a student at the school he or she works at or
A person who holds an educational license or permit who engages in sexual activity with a student in another school district
These acts are crimes, regardless of whether the student agreed to the behavior or is of legal age. Teachers are not the only ones who can be prosecuted, as anyone working within the school system can also be charged. This includes bus drivers, librarians, cafeteria workers and janitors.
The state of Texas makes improper conduct between an educator and student a second degree felony in order to deter others from beginning similar relationships. As such, the crime is punishable by:
Between two and ten years in prison
Fine of up to $10,000
Those who are found guilty of this crime may also lose their professional license indefinitely, and may be terminated from their position. Since most school systems perform background checks on new employees, individuals who are convicted will find it difficult to find employment in the same career field, even if they move to another state.
If the improper relationship constitutes another offense under the Texas Penal Code, charges may be brought for that crime as well. A few crimes that might also be committed are:
Any of these acts are considered felonies in their own right, and would therefore increase an individual’s sentence substantially.
Exception to Prosecution
An educator will not be prosecuted if he or she was married to the student at the time the incident occurred, so long as:
The employee is no more than three years older than the student
The relationship began before the educator’s employment started
The moral character of school employees is a primary concern of the public. Being accused of an improper relationship with a student can seriously damage one’s reputation, which is why defendants should fight hard to avoid a conviction.
Getting Legal Help
The most effective strategy for fighting improper relationship charges is to hire a skilled sex crimes attorney. This will give you an advantage in the courtroom because a sex crimes lawyer has a lot of experience and will be a valuable asset in convincing the jury to vote on your behalf.