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When is an alleged teacher-student relationship a crime in Texas?

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2022 | Sex Offenses

Allegations and arrests for educators having inappropriate relationships with students happen in Texas and across the United States. While this creates flashy headlines and viral content, it is not always true, nor is it automatically a crime. The circumstances can vary, the accusations could be false or it might have been a legal relationship. Still, those who are facing these charges could lose their career and income, face family challenges and be incarcerated. Understanding the specifics law in these cases is a vital part of a defense.

When is a relationship between a teacher and student a legal violation?

According to Texas law, any employee of a school, whether it is public, private or secondary, can be charged with an improper relationship if there is sexual activity, intercourse or deviant sexual intercourse with someone enrolled at the school.

It is also a crime to commit these acts with a student who does not attend the school but is taking part in an educational activity sponsored by the school district. In addition, this charge can be levied if a person sends sexually explicit material or communicates in a sexually explicit manner via text message, the Internet, email or some other form of electronic communication. These offenses are categorized as second-degree felony.

Even if these acts did occur, there are affirmative defenses under the law. If, for example, the person who is accused was married to the student or the age difference was 3 years or fewer, it is not a crime. Nor is it a crime if they were involved in a relationship before their employment at the school began.

Defending against sex-based offenses is important in myriad ways

These cases are automatically perceived in a negative way even before the facts come out. This can damage a school employee’s reputation beyond repair and render them unable to work in the same type of job ever again.

A teacher might have become involved with a student or the case could be exaggerated or false. Regardless of the situation, knowing the law is fundamental to lodging a viable defense. The person needs to protect themselves from losing everything. There may be options available to reduce the charges or get an acquittal. Merely being accused of sex offenses can be negative in a person’s life. After being accused, it is imperative to have professional assistance to try and combat the charges as effectively as possible.