Teachers in the News: The Crime of Child Seduction
It seems like every single week, somewhere around the country, there is a local and/or national story about a teacher having an “inappropriate sexual relationship with a student(s).” Whether involving high school students or middle school students, there are teachers of both sexes that are consistently being caught having sexual relations with children of all ages and sexes.
Given the position of trust that teachers have with their students, the legislature has created a specially crafted statute called Child Seduction, as defined in Indiana Code 35-42-4-7. The reason being is often times sexual relationships with teachers and students occur when the student is sixteen (16) or older. Had those relationships occurred outside of a school setting, sexual relations between a consenting 16-year-old and an adult is completely legal. Given that legal loophole, the legislature thought it was necessary to draft a statute that specifically addresses situations where people of authority should not be allowed to have sexual relations with minors for any reason, and regardless of the age difference or if the child is sixteen (16) or older. Child seduction was created just for that reason.
Child Seduction Defined for Teachers:
So, what is Child Seduction? The statute says that if a person, who is at least eighteen (18) years of age and is the: guardian, adoptive parent, adoptive grandparent, custodian, stepparent or child care worker for a child less than eighteen (18) years of age, engages with the child in sexual intercourse, or other sexual conduct (as defined in IC 35-31.5-2-221.5) or any fondling or touching with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of either the child or the adult, commits child seduction.
Teachers run afoul of this statute as they are considered “child care workers” as defined in the statute. More specifically, they are someone who provides care, supervision, or instruction to a child within the scope of the person’s employment in a shelter care facility and/or is employed by a school corporation, charter school, nonpublic school, or special education cooperative attended by a child who is the victim. It goes on to say pure affiliation, alone, may be enough, even if not fully employed, so long as the person has a position of trust, supervised or provided care for the victim at some point, and is at least four (4) years older than the child. It is important to also note that the statute does not require the supervision or care to be ongoing. If that relationship occurred at some point while the teacher and student were both connected to the school, regardless of a current supervisory role or not, the statute is still triggered.
What are the Penalties?
A teacher is subject to a level 6 felony if the behavior was limited to a child sixteen (16) or older (but less than 18) and involved touching or fondling only. As a level six felony, the defendant is facing ½ year in jail up to 2.5 years in jail. If the allegations alleged sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct laid out in IC 35-31.5-2-221.5, and the victim is sixteen (16) or older (but less than 18), the crime is a level 5 felony. A level 5 carries a sentencing range of 1 year in the department of corrections up to 6 years. It’s also a level 5 felony if the child was at least fourteen (14) but less than sixteen (16) and fondling occurred, yet it is increased to a level 4 felony if the child is within that age group and sex or sexual conduct is alleged. A level 4 felony carries a sentence of two (2) years to twelve (12) years. If the child is 13 or under, it’s a level 3 felony (3-16 years) for fondling/touching or a level 2 felony (10-30) for sexual intercourse or sexual conduct.
Yes, if a teacher is convicted of child seduction, they will be forced to register as a sex offender for anywhere from 10 years to life, depending on the level of the offense.
So, as anyone can see, the ramifications couldn’t be higher for educators. What might be legal outside of a school setting, is not within those walls. The allegations, alone, also can be a career-ender, and if that educator is convicted, the chances of losing their teaching license is inevitable.
Therefore, if you or a loved one is facing a charge of Child Seduction, or any other crime involving an inappropriate relationship between a teacher/administrator and a student, given the experienced Indianapolis Sex Offense Attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC a call today. We stand ready to assist you 24/7/365 at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 317.870.0019. We have handled high-profile cases involving educators, teachers, coaches, etc., so we have the experience to help you through this difficult period.