Overland Park teacher receives probation for sex with students
When people are accused of a sex crime in Kansas, they are often demonized due to the nature of the alleged offense. However, not every sex crime is the same. Some offenses occur simply as a result of poor judgment. Nevertheless, a sex crime charge often brings with it a permanently damaged reputation even before a defendant stands trial. A strong sex crime defense strategy may be one of the only ways for defendants to minimize damage to their names.
The Johnson County District Court recently ordered a three-year probation term for a former Shawnee Mission teacher who pleaded guilty to having sexual contact with three of her male high school students. The 28-year-old defendant must register as a sex offender for 25 years. If she violates the conditions of her probation, she will receive a prison sentence of 32 months.
In 2011, claims of the teacher’s conduct with her students arose and authorities charged her with three felony counts of unlawful sexual relations. All of the students with whom she was alleged to have had sexual encounters were either 17 or 18 at the time. Under Kansas law, this meant that each student was of age to consent to sexual relations. However, Kansas prohibits sexual contact between teachers and students, and it was under this law that prosecutors pursued charges against the teacher.
It is unlikely that the defendant will ever be allowed to teach again. In Kansas, prosecutors must report a teacher’s conviction and sentencing to the state Board of Education, which then revokes the defendant’s teaching license. This is in spite of the fact that a psychological examination showed the defendant was not a pedophile and she posed no threat to children or the community. In this case, an unfortunate lapse in judgment will tarnish a young woman’s reputation for years to come.