This is more of a September Roundup, really. As promised, I am (finally) back. My goal with this blog is to have more in-depth content and less filler, so I might not post every day from here on, but the posts should be longer with more original thought. But I do plan on keeping the Roundup around. Once a week, just to catch things that slipped through the cracks. Continue reading Monday roundup 10/6
Rebecca Green with J-G reports that a former special ed teacher at Woodlan has been charged with child seduction for having sex with a 17-year old student.
Whenever these stories break, people wonder about consent. The teenager voluntarily chose to have sex with the teacher, after all, and the age of consent in Indiana is 16.
Child seduction isn’t quite the same as statutory rape. While a 16-year old can give consent, there is a worry that certain people may be able to unduly influence certain young people, so 16- and 17-year olds are also protected by the child seduction statute. Basically, if a custodian, guardian, adoptive parent/grandparent, stepparent or child care worker (including teacher) of a teenager of 16 or 17 engages in sexual activity with them, they are guilty of child seduction.
There are other classes of people, such as those who have had a professional relationship with the teenager – like a counselor or psychiatrist – who can commit child seduction, as well, although the standards vary. For a psychiatrist, for example, it must be shown that he or she did actually exert undue influence.
For a teacher, that’s not necessary. The act itself is enough to convict.
Sometimes a jury isn’t convinced that a defendant is guilty, but they still kinda, sorta think he might be. Often, they have a way out: the lesser included charge.
Juries are given the option of convicting on lesser charges because, in theory, the prosecution may have convinced them that the defendant did what he was accused of, but was not able to prove all the necessary elements of the more serious charge.
Today, Paul Bell, Jr. was acquitted of rape, but convicted of sexual battery. For this to have happened, essentially the jury needs to have been convinced that the assault happened, but unconvinced that it involved any actual sexual penetration. It’s hard to escape the suspicion, however, that the jury simply didn’t know who to believe, so they split the difference.