Utah teacher pleads not guilty to allegations of raping student

There are many laws in this country that were established in an effort to protect children. Similarly, there are many laws in place that harshly punish those who are accused of harming a child in some way. While most of the time the line between appropriate behavior and inappropriate behavior is clear, there are some situations in which the line may become a little blury.

For instance, a Utah high school teacher has been accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of her students. According to news reports, the teacher and the 16-year-old student had sex multiple times over the course of several months. It appears, however, that the relationship was consensual.

The student testified at a preliminary hearing, where he explained the relationship the two had. He said he would skip class sometimes to spend time with her, and they would meet occasionally before school to have sex. Now, the teacher is facing three counts of felony rape — one for each time the two had sex. She pleaded not guilty to the charges. Her trial will begin in May.

While it may be inappropriate for a teacher to have an affair with a student, are felony rape charges the right response when the act was seemingly consensual? Although the woman was already fired from her job at the high school in Kaysville, if convicted, she could be sent to prison and forced to register as a sex offender. All because of a short-lived, consensual affair with a student.

Facing felony charges after a situation like this can be extremely frightening. It is important to understand, however, that criminal charges are not the same as a conviction. You have the right to challenge the charges in court, as this woman has chosen to do. Not everyone accused of a crime is guilty, and working with the right attorney can ensure that you understand the best approach for your unique situation.

Source: New York Daily News, “Utah high school teacher battles felony rape charges for having sex with 16-year-old student,” Lee Moran, Feb. 28, 2014

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