Relationships between a teacher and a student are definitely not unheard of—most Texans have heard about these types of charges on the news. While many of them have been thought of as consensual, the Texas Legislature has deemed romantic relationships between a student and his or her educator inappropriate. In the original law proposed, the law was limited to only students under 18. The law was amended to include even adult students in high schools because the State believes that teachers have significant power and control over students and such a relationship creates significant issues and can lead to some amount of coercion.
The following is the statute regarding an Improper Relationship Between Educator & Student. An employee of a public or private primary or secondary school commits an offense if:
1. the employee engages in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school at which the employee works and who is not the employee’s spouse, or
2. with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, the person, over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, intentionally:
1. communicates in a sexually explicit manner with a minor; or
2. distributes sexually explicit material to a minor, or
3. the person, over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, knowingly solicits a minor to meet another person, including the actor, with the intent that the minor will engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with the actor or another person.
It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Improper Relationship if the actor was the spouse of the enrolled person at the time of the offense or the actor was not more than three years older than the enrolled person at the time of the offense and the relationship began before the actor’s employment at the school.
The statute regarding Improper Relationship between an Educator & Student particularly applies to cases involving students over 17 years old. Note that even communication of a sexual nature can count towards this charge. For minors under 17, the sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault statutes are still applicable (and in some cases, the cyber crime online solicitation of a minor may also apply). Notwithstanding, a person—legally recognized as an adult and legally capable of giving consent—who is romantically involved with an employee of the school he or she attends will be charged with Improper Relationship.
Improper relationship allegations carry significant issues. Because these types of cases typically attract new media it can be difficult to avoid public humiliation. Paul Doyle has experience handling high-profile cases that attract the media. Paul never makes the case about him, but attempts to reduce any media coverage—when avoidable.
These cases are often complex and carry significant penalties. Further, you may be subject to other charges such as sexual assault of a child. Paul Doyle can navigate the complicated channels of this case and put together an aggressive defense to protect your liberty. Contact Paul Doyle today for a consultation.