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Collin County criminal defense attorney sex crimes

For the past two academic semesters, students across the country have alternated between in-person and virtual learning formats in an attempt to keep students and their families safe from contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus. Each state was presented with the ability to dictate their educational systems’ future for the fall semester, some returning to the classroom, others remaining fully remote, and even more states selecting a hybrid platform. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath required all schools in the state to open their doors to those who would like to return to the classroom while also being prepared for remote teaching for students who opt to remain at home.

These unprecedented changes to Texas classrooms have made things more challenging for teachers, students, and their families. Additionally, the dual academic options have made regulating students’ progress and teachers’ work increasingly difficult. As is the unfortunate case each year, inappropriate teacher-student relationships can continue to occur during this unique academic year. Teachers and students have an even greater virtual connection than ever before, making it easier for such relationships—and false accusations—to flourish. 

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Collin County criminal defense attorney child sexual assault

A 24-year-old former educational assistant was indicted by a grand jury in Bowie County, Texas, earlier this month on two counts of an improper relationship between educator and student. The former aide was also indicted on a single count of sexual assault of a child. All three criminal charges are felonies, and they stem from interactions she allegedly had with students between November 2019 and May 2020.

Overheard Conversations

According to reports, a teacher at Texas High in the Texarkana Independent School District overheard a group of boys talking in June about how one of the boys might have gotten the instructional aide pregnant. After being confronted, the 17-year-old boy allegedly said that he had had sex with the aide but that she told him he was not her baby’s father. He also claimed that other students had sex with the assistant as well.

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Tarrant County sex crimes defense attorney

The Texas Education Agency investigated more than 400 cases of alleged illegal student-teacher relationships during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Reports of inappropriate sexual and romantic relationships between students and teachers have risen dramatically in recent years in Texas. Many attribute this increase to the heightened awareness of illegal sex acts prompted by the #MeToo movement. Educators who are convicted of having an improper relationship with a student can lose their ability to teach, their reputation, and even their freedom. If you are a teacher or school employee who has been accused of having sexual relations with a student, speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

When Does a Teacher-Student Relationship Cross the Line?

Teachers spend a great deal of time with their students. Some pupils may actually see their teachers more often than they do their own friends and family. However, when a teacher-student relationship stops being professional and starts being sexual, this constitutes a criminal offense. According to the Texas Penal Code, it is against the law for a teacher, counselor, librarian, school administrator, or any other educator to engage in sexual contact with a student. Online solicitation of a student may also constitute an illegal student-teacher relationship. The age of consent in Texas is 17; however, a teacher may still be charged with a criminal offense if he or she has sexual contact with a student who is over the age of 17.

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Dallas sexual misconduct defense lawyer

In the United States, crimes against children are taken very seriously. In 2015, approximately 3.5 million students who were surveyed by the Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation organization reported having had physical sexual contact from an adult. Most often, these perpetrators were listed as teachers or coaches. When other types of sexual misconduct are included in the calculation, this number increases to 4.5 million children in 8th through 11th grades. These actions include exposure to pornography, sexually explicit language, or exhibitionism.

Due to the prevalence of sexual abuse by teachers or other people in positions of authority, teachers should be aware of the potential for accusations of having an inappropriate teacher-student relationship. These claims can not only lead to criminal charges, but they can also cause a great deal of damage to one's reputation and career. Teachers should be sure to understand the laws surrounding these types of cases and the potential consequences of an accusation.

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