Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Baton Rouge English teacher booked on teen sex crime charges

A charge of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, sometimes called statutory rape, can be a misdemeanor or a felony. The dividing line between the allegations is the difference in ages between the alleged victim and offender. According to Louisiana laws for minor sex offenses, the more serious felony occurs when a person 17 or older is at least four years older than a 13- to 16-year-old.

The parents of a student at Riverdale Christian Academy in Baton Rouge found sexually explicit texts on their son's phone. The 16-year-old told his parents, and later police, the messages had come from a high school English teacher. The teen and the 41-year-old female teacher allegedly also exchanged nude pictures.

The juvenile admitted he was having a sexual relationship with the religious school instructor, a claim the teacher initially denied. Authorities said the woman confessed to the intimate relationship after learning police had the nude photos. The school placed the woman on administrative leave following the teacher's arrest.

A carnal knowledge of a juvenile charge is not dependent upon the juvenile's initiation of a sexual relationship or the minor's consent. Obviously, a lack of consent would substantially increase the severity of the crime. A sentence for a felony statutory rape conviction can include a fine up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years.

The teacher also was charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile and computer-aided solicitation of a juvenile. She had been teaching at Riverdale Christian Academy since last year. An official with the school-affiliated Redeemer Baptist Church said the well-respected, married teacher was never suspected of wrongdoing and apparently passed a pre-hiring background check.

Sex crimes allegations can rapidly sour a defendant's personal, professional and social relationships. The accused person may have little or no support other than a criminal defense attorney committed to preserving the defendant's rights and when possible, eliminating or reducing charges.

Source: The Advocate, "BR teacher accused of sex with teen boy" Daniel Bethencourt, Aug. 25, 2014

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