Sexual Battery with a Student in Lexington
Understanding the Laws in South Carolina
We have all seen the news stories where school teachers or employees are
arrested for having a sexual relationship with a student. Many are unaware
that South Carolina has a statute specifically outlawing this type of
relationship, even when it is entirely consensual. These arrests can be
devastating, and in one single day you can learn that your family, freedom,
job, licensure, and community reputation are all at risk.
South Carolina's sex with student law is contained in S.C. Code §
It makes it a
felony to have sexual relations with a student that is sixteen or seventeen
years of age. A relationship with a student who is at least eighteen is a misdemeanor.
All teachers or school officials charged with this offense also risk termination
of employment and a permanent loss of any teaching credentials. As a felony
this law provides for up to five years imprisonment.
This law only applies to students that are at least sixteen years of age.
Sexual contact with students fifteen years of age or younger will be covered
by the standard child molestation statutes including lewd act upon a minor or
criminal sexual conduct with a minor. This law also only applies to relations that are consensual.
If force is used against a student to accomplish sexual contact then this
would be covered by existing assault or rape laws.
Examining the Possible Defenses
Many times a teacher may be arrested for violating this statute will no
corroborating evidence, other than the word of a student. False allegations
may arise from a variety of circumstances, including from students with
existing mental health or emotional issues, students who have developed
a crush or infatuation or students who have lied about their sexual escapades
to other students. Many times these cases may benefit from conducting
a more thorough and detailed investigation than was originally conducted
by law enforcement. This may involve the use of private investigators,
psychologists and consultants in forensic interview techniques.
Just because you have been charged with this offense does not mean that
you will be found guilty. Teachers accused of having an inappropriate
relationship with a student enjoy all of the other rights afforded to
criminal suspects. This includes the presumption of innocence, the right
to challenge and confront your accuser, the right to remain silent and
the right to a full trial by jury. If you or a loved one is under investigation
for or has been arrested for any sexual contact with a student it is important
that you do not discuss your case with law enforcement or school officials
without first consulting with a
Lexington criminal defense attorney.
At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, located in Lexington, South
Carolina, we are able to assist teachers or other school officials with
fighting false or unfair accusations. We can assemble a team of professional
investigators and other experts to assist in protecting your reputation,
freedom and livelihood.
Contact our office for a free, confidential consultation with a Lexington criminal lawyer.