Former teacher facing serious allegations

A teacher who used to teach at a high school in a town not too far from Ponca City and Stillwater is now facing allegations of statutory rape and also illicit sexting. These allegations stem from an alleged relationship the teacher had with a student at the school where he taught.

Although it appeared from news reports that the student was older than the age of consent and did in fact consent to the relationship, the law in Oklahoma defines rape to include those situations in which a teacher has an affair with a student at the school where he or she teaches. Therefore, the teacher faces up to 15 years in prison. He has already been placed on leave at his new school, which is located in Texas.

According to authorities, the teacher admitted to exchanging text messages with the student which were of a sexual nature. If proven, this in and of itself may constitute a separate crime under Oklahoma law and carry with it a penalty of 10 years in prison. According to police, the teacher admitted his relationship with the girl was not appropriate after being confronted with some of the text messages. There was no indication that the teacher actually admitted to having sex with the student.

While it is important for teachers in the Ponca City area, as well as other professionals who work closely with children and teens, to keep good boundaries, it's simply not the case that every inappropriate or questionable relationship is illegal. This teacher is now facing serious charges that, in addition to jail time, could also mean a lost reputation and career. He will no doubt want a vigorous criminal defense.

Source: Stillwater News Press, "Rape charge added in alleged teacher-student relationship," Tim Ahrens, Dec. 23, 2017.

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