Do New Jersey sex crimes laws apply to teacher-student relationships when the student is 18 years old or older?
New Jersey’s sex crime laws are purposely designed in a multi-faceted manner to address the variety of situations in which perpetrators and victims may find themselves. In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all criminal charge for sexual misconduct, and the facts of the situation will become highly relevant in determining an appropriate charge given the unique scenario at hand.
Take, for instance, a recent incident at New Jersey’s Mendham High School in Morris County. According to the preliminary details, a 32-year-old English teacher was charged with three counts of sexual misconduct amid allegations she engaged in sexual intercourse with a student in 2013. However, unlike many other teacher-student scandals to grace the New Jersey news media, this one is different in one important aspect: the student was an adult.
Indisputably, the facts surrounding the clandestine relationship support the notion that at no time during the alleged relations was either party a minor. Sounds like a total win for the defendant, right? Maybe not.
Under New Jersey law, sexual misconduct crimes can encompass more than just the age of the parties, and often take into account the nature of the relationship both before and during the encounter. One major issue, prosecutors contend, is the implied authority of a teacher over a student, thereby making any personal and/or sexual relationship categorically improper.
Naturally, criminal law attorneys for the defendant contend that the relationship may have been in poor taste – and undoubtedly an infringement of her teaching contract and school board policies – but it is certainly not a criminal matter. Counsel further contends that the proposed five-year sentence is exceptionally out of line given the facts of the case, and that no minor child was engaged in the relationship at any time.
Contact a reputable New Jersey criminal law attorney today
If you are facing possible sex crime charges in New Jersey, or would like to discuss your rights under New Jersey’s criminal laws, contact Sitzler & Sitzler today by calling our Burlington County office at (609)267-1101. Our experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys are ready to assist you.