Virginia may reform its sex crime laws

Some laws are crystal clear, while others are riddled with nuance and exceptions. When it comes to laws involving intimacy, most crimes are fairly obvious. Adults may legally engage in consensual sexual encounters, provided that both parties are of sound mind and are not related closely by blood. Generally, sex crimes all exist in scenarios that do not meet those specific criteria. However, it is possible that even certain consensual encounters between adults will now be considered criminal in Virginia.

Many educators, legislators and judges are concerned about the increasing number of sexual relationships forming between Virginia’s teachers and students. As a result, the State Crime Commission is even going so far as to study the potential implementation of laws that would prohibit consensual sexual relationships between teachers and students who are aged 18 or older.

The logic behind this proposal is that the power dynamic between educators and students, even if they are no longer minors, makes their sexual relationships inherently unequal. This inequality may potentially breed corrupt teaching practices and cause the students to be taken advantage of.

The Commission will likely weigh this issue over the course of the next several months before making any recommendations to lawmakers. It will hopefully consider not only the best ways to protect students but also the general predictability and consistency of the state’s criminal legal code. When you start to narrow the ability of adults to make their own decisions about who they may and may not be intimate with, you restrict freedom of choice and diminish the concept of personal accountability. Moving in this direction should not be a decision considered lightly.

Source: NBC12.com, “Commission to study toughening child sex laws,” Brent Solomon, May 8, 2013

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