Texas has had a string of teacher-student sexual assault allegations in recent years. Although society views these situations very harshly, not every allegation is black and white. In some circumstances, the allegations are entirely false or the relationship may not be what the law intended to punish. If you are facing sexual assault allegations, you need a strong Houston criminal defense attorney to thoroughly investigate your situation and aggressively fight for your rights. Contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 for a free consultation.
Texas Strict on Teacher-Student Relationships
Texas has a strict law prohibiting improper relationships between teachers or other school employees and any student within the same district. Charges may include sexual assault or indecency with a child, and can be punished under the improper relationship statute and other relevant laws.
The teacher-student improper relationship offense is a second-degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and 2 to 20 years in prison. Teachers may also lose their professional licenses and incur permanent criminal records, which may affect their abilities to work, take out loans, and receive housing in the future.
Strict Law Can Bring Unfair Results
Due to the strict nature of the Texas law regarding improper relationships between teachers and students, conduct that would otherwise be legal – such as two people over the age of 16 having sex – may be illegal if the teacher works in the district where the student attends school. The teacher and student may not even be aware of the proximity. Had the teacher and student lived farther apart, or had the 17-year-old been a college freshman instead of a high school senior, their actions may have been entirely legal.
Another example is that a young teacher or employee who is near a student’s age may be part of a healthy relationship. When teachers and students are at separate schools, there is little evidence of teachers having improper influences on grades, college references, or other important aspects of education and life.
Regardless of the exact allegations of misconduct, a felony conviction for an improper relationship with a student will ruin any teacher’s career.
Contact a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are a teacher, school administrator, or other district employee and you are being accused of having an improper relationship with a student, contact an experienced Houston criminal attorney right away. You have the right to legal counsel, and an attorney with experience in this area of the law can advise you of your rights, defend you in court, and help you prove your innocence. Contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 for a free consultation.