December 11, 2009

Sometimes the justice system stinks.

So apparently a 36-year-old teacher in Georgia (who is married with two little kids) was having an affair with his 17-year-old student. (That's him up there, talking to his lawyer. Ugh.)

The affair was found out, the case went to court and the 17-year-old testified that the affair was consensual. Because she did, the guy went free. To quote the judge, "It's gross, it's awful, but it ain't illegal."

Oh, well, that's fine then. Later!

Except: No.

Leaving the age thing out of it for just a moment... He's her TEACHER. He's an authority figure over her. Companies have rules about things like this for a reason, too. And this is even worse because she's SEVENTEEN. I know, in theory, that's practically an adult. But I think it'd be very, very rare for any 17-year-old to be able to emotionally handle a relationship with a 36-year-old authority figure.

The laws of consent are so dicey, I think. So much depends on the individual child (CHILD!) that it's so hard to know where the legal boundaries should be placed.


I've known some ridiculously mature 13-year-olds. Does that mean they'd be able to emotionally (let alone otherwise) handle a relationship with an adult who is in a position of authority over them? Um, no.

As the CNN commentator said, in theory, this provides a loophole for teachers who find themselves in this situation in the future: Make sure the student says it was consensual (whether or not they actually feel that way) and you're golden. And, as they also said in the commentary I linked to above, consent isn't about just saying the words. It's about understanding what you're doing, the consequences, what it really means. Even if the student found his advances flattering (which she says she did), did she really understand what she'd be doing to herself, to her family and to his?

Since apparently Georgia deems 17-year-olds competent to choose their own sexual partners (even if they're more than twice their age, married and teaching them calculus), at the very least I hope his school system gives him the axe.

There are a lot of things wrong with this whole situation. And almost all of them fall on this disgusting man who thought it was cool to A) cheat on his wife, and B) do it with an underage girl who looks up to him.


5 backtalk:

Ky (Two Pretzels) said...

For some reason if this, "couple" were 27 and 46 (gross), I would have less of a moral issue with it. (If indeed the 46-year-old man was NOT married.)

Bottom line? You're right. The teacher is an EDUCATOR. His responsibility is to teach the children, not have sex with them.


Ky (Two Pretzels) said...

And another thing, I don't care HOW beguiling a 17-year-old girl is... YOU ARE THE ADULT.

I'm so sick of the whole, "She didn't look or act 17!" thing. Blech.

Written Permission said...

Supposedly the teacher made the first move, too -- he sent her a text that said something like, "If I was your age, you'd be my type of girl" or something gross like that. That's just predatory and creepy!

Ky (Two Pretzels) said...

Um. That is SO gross.

wrestling kitties said...

Agree, this is so gross and just unexceptable.

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