In June, 28 year old Melissa Lee Chase was released from prison after having been convicted of having sex with a 16 year old female student. According to the Georgia Supreme Court, she should have been able to use consent as a defense in her case but it was disallowed at the time. Since then, several teachers in similar positions have also gotten off with a consent defense.
In Georgia, the age of consent in 16. Because of this, the aforementioned situation involving a 28 year old and a 16 year old is perfectly legal. However, another law was used against these teachers, saying that they were in authority positions. This law bans sexual intercourse among certain authority-subordinate relationships. Psychotherapists and their patients and police officers and criminals in their custody are among these banned relationships, but teachers and students are not mentioned by the law.
Because of this loophole, State Representative Kevin Levitas is drafting a bill that would include the teacher student relationship. However, the wording of this bill will need to be very carefully chosen. One argument against banning teacher-student relationships is the application of that law in a situation involving a 30 year old university level teacher and a 40 or 50 year old student.
Obviously Levitas has his work cut out for him in this situation. There is a great deal of grey area that needs wading through before a legitimate bill can be drafted. Once that happens, though, these teachers will have to read up on their sex crime laws. Check out this Massachusetts sex crimes lawyer website for a little more information on that subject.
Strangely, Georgia is not the only state in the news for teacher-student sex scandals. A lot more of these have been going on than I was previously aware of. If any of you have some insight on these types of cases, or any specific cases, I’m sure it will drive some interesting discussion.