In February, a 59-year-old man was arrested and charged with sexual misconduct with multiple women. He was a longtime teacher and award-winning athletic director at Terrebonne High School in Louisiana, and the women were all students at the time the misconduct occurred.
Houma police noted in a news release that they now believe the man had been engaging in sexual behavior with students for a while.
“Joseph Clement has been a teacher at Terrebonne High School for several years and this behavior has been reportedly going on for quite some time,” Police Chief Dana Coleman noted in the release.
Sexual behavior between a teacher and a student is considered a very serious offense in Louisiana. Teachers are hired to not only be educators to their students, but also to serve as mentors to these teenagers. Even the allegation of sexual misconduct with an underage student can destroy an educator’s career, and it can seriously damage their personal reputation in the community as well. That’s why anyone who works at a public or private school and has been accused of sexual misconduct with a student should immediately call an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss a defense strategy.
Let’s take a closer look at how Louisiana defines the crime of sexual misconduct between a student and teacher, and what the penalties are for a conviction.
What are Louisiana’s Laws on Sex Between Teachers and Students?
In Louisiana, the law prohibits sexual contact between an educator and a student. The law states that it’s illegal to have sexual intercourse with a student at the school where the educator is assigned or employed.
The term “educator” is very broadly defined. It can mean the employee is working there as a:
- Student aide
- or teacher aide.
The law applies to both public and private schools, and to full-time, part-time, or temporary employees. The law doesn’t apply to universities or colleges.
What are the Penalties for Sexual Misconduct With a Student?
Being convicted of Prohibited Sexual Conduct Between Educator and Student can mean a $1,000 fine and imprisonment. The penalties increase to a $5,000 fine and a longer term in prison with a second or third offense.
And depending on the circumstances of the case, it’s possible for the educator to be charged with additional sex crimes involving a minor, such as:
- Indecency with a child
- Sexual assault
- Child pornography
These charges can mean additional sentences and lengthier time in prison.
Those who have been convicted of this crime are also required to register with the state as a sex offender for 15 years. That can severely limit your future employment options and your options for where you can live as well. Registered sex offenders are prohibited from residing in particular neighborhoods, including those close to schools, parks and playgrounds. At the same time, the damage to the educator’s personal reputation will get battered.
Are there Defenses for Sexual Misconduct with a Student?
It’s important to understand that an educator who is charged with sexual misconduct with a student can’t claim that the student consented to the sexual act. Consent is not a defense. It’s also not a defense to claim a lack of knowledge about the student’s age.
If you’re facing allegations of having engaged in prohibited sexual contact between educator and student, it’s important to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you fight the charges in court.
Get the Quality Criminal Defense You Need in Louisiana
If you are facing charges of sexual misconduct with a student, it’s important not to let a single mistake destroy your life. If you’re facing any criminal charges in Louisiana related to sexual behavior with a minor, the consequences of a conviction will be very severe. That’s why it’s important to get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
In Louisiana, a top source for criminal defense attorneys is the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm. We have more than 25 years of experience representing ordinary citizens just like you and want to help you get your life back on the right track. It’s our mission to give you the most personalized experience possible and help you have your voice heard.
Eric Johnson is respected throughout Louisiana and is known for providing solid representation that wins cases. To schedule a free consultation regarding your case, call our office at 318-377-1555 or contact us online today. We’re here to represent you!