Of the many different scenarios that can lead someone to be charged with a sex crime, one of the most frustrating for defendants is a sexual relationship that appears to be consensual. But it's important to remember that even if your actions are reciprocated, you could be breaking the law.
A good example of this is an inappropriate relationship between a student and a teacher. Last week a 29-year-old Germantown, Wisconsin, high school teacher was charged with three counts of felony sexual assault. The charges stem from accusations that he had repeated sexual contact with a 17-year-old student.
According to a criminal complaint, the math teacher and the girl were seen dancing together and kissing at a concert in Milwaukee earlier this month. The complaint says the two then went back to her parents' house, where she picked up a car and drove back to his home so they could have intercourse. Two more sexual encounters followed, according to the complaint, after which the girl said they needed to talk because rumors about them had begun circulating at the high school.
The Germantown School District has placed the teacher on unpaid leave while the investigation continues. In addition to his employment suspension, the man was arrested last week and held at the Milwaukee County Jail on $20,000 bail.
Even when the participants in an inappropriate sexual relationship know what they're doing is against the law, it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind for the sake of the experience. It's often not until after charges are filed and reputations are destroyed that reality sinks in. By this time, it's much harder to undo the damage, and defendants often find that not only have they jeopardized their own future, but that of the other person involved.
If you do find yourself in a situation that could land you in trouble, your best move is usually to seek legal counsel right away, even if you're not facing any charges or accusations. A criminal defense lawyer who focuses on sex crimes can examine your situation and work with you on a solution to minimize the damage to your career and reputation.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Germantown teacher and coach charged with sexually assaulting student," Bruce Vielmetti, April 20, 2012