Thursday, December 10, 2009

Legal Victimization

Former Marietta High School teacher Christopher King listens as defense attorney Scott Semrau gives opening arguments Dec. 8, 2009. King was charged with sexual assault after it was discovered he was having a sexual relationship with a student.By Gaetane Borders

Today in the metro Atlanta area, former Marietta High School teacher, Christopher King, was acquitted of sexual assault.  The charges stem from the discovery that he had been having inappropriate interactions with a female student.  Since he openly admitted that those interactions were “sexual” you would think that this would be an easy conviction, right?

However, the problem is that his 17-year-old victim took the stand in defense of her former teacher who she described as her “boyfriend.”  His lawyer told jurors that the two “were in love,” and although "This may be a bad idea…it's not illegal." This attorney’s argument was bolstered in June when the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that, when a student is a willing participant and is 16 or older, the student's consent can be a defense for teachers facing a sexual assault charge.  The presiding judge by-passed the jury and rendered his verdict this afternoon, saying "It's gross, it's awful, but it ain't illegal…This was a consensual relationship."  So with that…Christopher King was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Really?  Is a 17-year-old able to consent to a sexual “relationship” with a nearly forty-year-old man?  In the dictionary, an adolescent is defined as: A young person who has undergone puberty but who has not reached full maturity.  Therefore, how can it be that there is such a law that blatantly ignores the fact that, by definition, an adolescent is not equipped with the emotional maturity to understand the ramifications and consequences of adult behaviors?

Adolescents and children are inherently trusting of authority figures, and are naïve and easily mislead.  This is one of the reasons why pedophiles are able to commit their crimes.  In this case, King’s former student told a courtroom full of people that he began calling her about non-school related issues.  Later, the two went shopping, out to dinner, and the movies.  She said she believed that they were doing the “things dating couple do.” "It evolved the way I assume any sexual encounter does," she said.

Clearly, Christopher King took advantage of his position of power as well as the childlike immaturity of his 17-year-old victim.  Yes I said it…VICTIM!  In essence, she was groomed to believe that they had a relationship.  Romanticizing this as love and anything positive is sickening.  Point blank. 

In this case, the victim’s father became alarmed by King’s phone calls to his daughter.  However, she told him that he was overreacting.  As an educator, I can assure you that EVERY school employee is aware of the appropriate code of conduct regarding students. Sometimes parents might feel uncomfortable with the attention that a teacher is giving to their son or daughter, but may not know how to handle the situation.  Here are some clear cut No-No’s. 

·       Contact students for personal issues (ie. “Just to say Hi.”). 
·       Text students.
·       Discuss personal information with students (ie. Issues related to marital problems, family issues etc.)
·       Make plans with a student to have dinner or go to a movie.
·       Videotape or record a student without expressed consent from the parent.
·       Make any comments of a sexual or suggestive nature.
·       Have sex with a student.
·       Serve alcohol to a student.

So, what should you do if you notice any of these things?  First, talk to your son or daughter to try and find out what has happened.  Next, IMMEDIATLEY report your concerns to the building administrator and to the proper authorities for a thorough investigation.  Have copies of text messages, emails, and pictures to share as evidence if you have them.  Also remember that your son or daughter may try to conceal the “relationship” by denying that anything inappropriate is occurring. They may be defensive, and even angry with you for asking questions. 

Regardless of the state Laws, any sound minded adult knows that it is immoral, unethical, deplorable…and YES criminal to take advantage of a child.  I hope that we will all take a closer look at the laws that directly affect our children and adolescents because some offenders are taking advantage of a legal loophole, and are able to walk away totally free…Legally

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  1. Here's an interesting article on coaches who prey:

    Click Here to Read Story

  2. I didn't know they let horses's a**'s be judges.

  3. We see many perverted judges who are in a position to make positive change and yet just keep making decisions like this. It's appalling. It's like any position of power, there is corruption run rampant!

  4. Once again I disagree with PART of this -- not the part where he violated the supposed no-no's of teacher/student relations we have in USA. But she is a victim?? She is prey?
    The woman who loves him doesnt feel preyed upon -- does he feel like prey? Was he maybe seduced by a femme fatale hottie hell bent on his inheritance? WE DONT KNOW.
    "It's gross, it's awful, but it ain't illegal…This was a consensual relationship."
    What is awful? What is gross? Love? Ohhhh...Is it the age difference that bothers you? As in Harold and Maude? Or is the assumption that simply because he is male that his motives (but never hers)were impure? She is of legal age, and so is he. My former g/f was married to a man older than her own father -- yes she outlived him, but they were married happily for 25 years.
    A friend of mine married a woman more than thirty years his senior. People thought he must be crazy to marry a woman who looked like his grandmother or at least his elderly mom --it was true love for real.

    Some men only fall for younger women, and some younger women only are interested in older men.
    Because she is seventeen and female, does that mean she is an idiot, or immature or what?
    Why do we assume that women are incapable of thinking, and some judge should think for her?
    If it was a 17 year old stud from the football team and an older female, I don't think there would be this hand wringing. But because it's a woman, she can't possibly think for herself, is that it?

    Yes a woman is "immature" and child like at seventeen, but boys are worldly and mature at seventeen? Uh....I always thought it was the other way around...girls have become women while the boys are contemplating their secondary sexual characteristics.

    Yep -- women sure are stupid and gullible...not the women I know now or the ones i recall from high Cathleen Turner said to her male prey in Body Heat "You're kind of stupid, I like that in a man"

    Yes, delilah, I am such a trouble maker!!!!
    But i'm so darn nice and pleasant!
    Keep up the good work!

  5. to the above poster, you basically negated your own argument in the first line. the guy was a teacher, she was a student, yes, she is therefor "prey".
    she is not yet 18. still prey. not 'legal'where i come from.
    it's the very position he was in (far above hers, in age and stature) that allowed him to take advantage, any relationship borne of that is wrong.

  6. Its quite simple: is the age of consent in Georgia 17 or not?

    Otherwise any act was consensual by law, albeit unethical because of the power up/power down relationship defined by their teacher/student status.

  7. Nevermind. The article clearly states that "in June when the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that, when a student is a willing participant and is 16 or older, the student's consent can be a defense for teachers facing a sexual assault charge".

    This argument is nugatory. No illegal activity.

  8. Wow! What an array of responses to my post...

    6p00d8341ec3da53ef---It appears that we are discussing two different things. You, at first, agree that this educator crossed the lines. By the way...there are established educator rules of conduct for specific reasons. Should the rules now say "No sex with your student unless they are at least 16…and a “hottie”??????" And NO I do not think that girls are more immature or idiotic than boys. I use the word "adolescent" to refer to BOTH males and females. suggest that it is plausible that the female student in the case that I highlighted could have been a "hottie" trying to seduce this man like a femme fatale to get at his "inheritance". If this were the case, I would STILL place the onus of responsibility on Christopher King (HER TEACHER) to tell her that such interactions between them would be inappropriate…while simultaneously giving her a hall pass to the Counselor's Office.

    Vag-Unfortunatley this argument is not nugatory as you say. Rather, it is a wake up call to many to make sure that the laws in place adequately protect our children's welfare. Just because it’s a law does not make it right.


  9. Gaetane:

    No one can argue the morality issue here. Who says your morals are more virtuous than mine? You? Are you the morals police? Most people would believe this is immoral, I agree.

    You ask this: "Is a 17-year-old able to consent to a sexual “relationship” with a nearly forty-year-old man?"

    Hhmm, well yes, in some states they can. What does it matter his age? Your issue is either age of consent or the fact that this was an older man. Cause why else would you have pointed out his age? Which is it? Would you care if the guy was 18? If she was 18, would it matter that he was her teacher? No, because it is NOT illegal to cross that line if consent is legally stated.
    Or that little annoying factt that she is now considered an adult.

    How is tha when they are 17 they are not able to make these decisions, BUT ONE YEAR LATER, they can? Have they suddenly "reached full maturity", as you state a 17 year old has not? Really? One year later?

    Because it is not always illegal to have bad judgement. It is not always illegal to take advantage of others. Therapists sleep with their clients. Not illegal...morally wrong to most people. An abuse of power. But not will take the stance that these are children!!!....hence returning yet again to your actual problem: AGE OF CONSENT, because then the actions WOULD be illegal.

    Is it your belief that ALL states should follow your ideals and change their age of consent?

    FYI: I agree with your beliefs. However, you lacked a clear platorm by simply NOT saying that specifically the age of consent laws need to have some sort of overhaul. You end your article with "take a closer look" at the laws...yea, AND??? Seriously, and what???

    You have so much opinion on this and yet you dont even offer what you think needs to be done about these current laws or what your solution is.


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