What’s more disturbing – a grades-for-sex scam from a teacher, or the tired ‘consensual’ defense?
A Bridgeport, Connecticut teacher was sentenced to 45 days to serve after being busted for engaging in sexual activity with multiple students. At least as reported, the victims were 17, but as the sentencing judge noted –
“You were the adult in this situation, you were the authority figure, his teacher and you had an obligation not to participate in this behavior.”
Sex with teacher scandals are hardly new – Mary K. Latourneau was prosecuted in 1997, and I prosecuted civil claims arising out of the arrest of a fourth-grade teacher in 1987. Read more about that here. That teacher’s misconduct spanned back to the late 70’s.
Private schools have been outted for quietly ‘dealing with’ such misconduct for decades. Read more about that here.
Today, however, student teacher interaction can happen through text, email, or Facebook message, opening the door for the kind of intimate communication that would foster inappropriate relationships. In the Bridgeport case, one student found his teacher on Grindr.
Which is why the judge was spot on in citing the imbalance of power that the teacher exploits in such a relationship. Connecticut law prohibits teacher student sexual relationships, even if the student is over the age of majority. Are teachers supposed to be shopping for seniors in high school? One would hope not, and the law says no.
But educators, and those that employ them, evidently need to hammer the lesson home to unprofessional members of the profession. This teacher, hired as a substitute through a private company, evidently didn’t get the memo, and thought ‘consent’ was a defense.