It’s been the source of drama in the news and made for television movies for decades: teachers having sex with students. It’s also perhaps one of the biggest betrayals of trust that can occur – and the law views it accordingly.
Recently in North Carolina, a teacher was accused of having a student over to her home while she was on house arrest for sexual abuse of that same student. She violated a judge’s order that barred her from having contact with the student and got arrested for violating that order.
In our state, specific laws bar teachers from having sex with students, one of many sex crimes a person can be charged with. Here is what you need to know about this crime, including how our laws define it and the penalties resulting from a conviction.
Sexual Activity with a Student: What Is It?
The law in North Carolina defines sexual activity with a student as a crime that occurs when a teacher, school administrator, school safety officer, student teacher, or coach engages in a sexual act or vaginal intercourse with a student. They are breaking the law if they do this at any time after or during the time when they and the student were in the same school before the victim of the crime ceases to be a student.
When this crime gets perpetrated, it is considered a Class G felony, which can result in up to 47 months behind bars and conviction of a sex crime. Additionally, you can be labeled as a sexual predator.
Felony Sexual Activity By Other School Personnel
In North Carolina, no one considered “school personnel” may have sexual contact with students. This includes teachers, student teachers, school safety officers, school administrators, coaches, and more. If they engage in a sexual act with a student and they are at least four years older than that student, they can face a Class G felony. If convicted, they face up to 47 months behind bars.
Misdemeanor Sexual Activity with a Student
There are some cases where the charges for sexual activity with a student by school personnel can be a misdemeanor charge. If they are less than four years older than the victim, it can be charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person can face up to 150 days in jail and may be ordered by the court to pay fines.
NC Sex with a Student: Important Considerations
Regarding charges of sex with a student in North Carolina, there are other important factors to know.
First, the crime can be charged even if the student in question is above NC’s age of consent. It’s against the law to engage in sex with a student – no matter how old.
Second, this crime doesn’t consider whether the student engaged in the act willingly or not. Even those students who are enthusiastic participants are considered victims, and charges can be brought.