A Federal Way high school teacher has been arrested on second-degree rape charges amid allegations that he engaged in
sexual conduct with a student, who is now 17-years-old.
Tacoma criminal defense lawyers understand there has been a rush to judgment in this case, given the details that have been released so far. However, anytime a person is initially arrested and charged, we are often only hearing half of the story.
Defendants who are locked up can't (and shouldn't) speak for themselves to answer to the charges in the court of public opinion. But public record laws are such that the media is able to obtain the early investigative reports from police and prosecutors. Police will often use this publicity to pressure a defendant into confessing or providing more detailed information.
It's important for anyone accused of ANY crime, but especially those of a sexual nature, to immediately secure legal counsel. This is critical to protecting your rights, starting early on in the process. So even if charges haven't yet been filed, but you have reason to believe you are suspected, consulting with a criminal defense lawyer is a smart thing to do.
In this case, the 33-year-old teacher has a lot to lose. He is a soon-to-be-divorced father of three children, ages 3, 8 and 10. He has worked as an English and math teacher at the school for the last five years.
His divorce proceedings have reportedly been quite contentious. According to local news reports, his soon-to-be ex-wife has requested a restraining order against him, alleging that she fears he may leave the state or country with their children. The pair were reportedly married the last 12 years. There is no indication at this point that the wife had anything to do with the criminal allegations he is currently facing, though it's not uncommon in bitter divorce and child custody battles for false allegations of sex crimes to be lodged without regard for the long-term impact.
The alleged victim says that she had been involved with the teacher for the last two years, starting when she was 15 years-old. In all, she reportedly alleges there were four sexual encounters between the two, including once in Tacoma and once in Auburn.
Although police have not reported indications of physical force, the police and media are categorizing these encounters as "rapes." The reason is because it is against the law for teachers or school administrators to engage in sexual conduct with students, even if the student is over the age of consent and gives consent.
The girl reportedly revealed the encounters to her mother. The police were called, and in the course of their investigation, have said they found physical evidence of the encounters in the girl's room. Authorities have not elaborated on the nature of those findings.
RCW 9A.44.079, third-degree rape of a child occurs when an adult has sex with a child who is older than 14 but younger than 16 and he or she is at least three years older than the alleged victim. This is considered a Class C felony under state law, meaning it's punishable by up to five years in prison. However, the teacher's status as a person of authority has bumped the charge up to second-degree rape of a child, which is a Class A felony, punishable by up to life in prison.
It is critical for anyone facing charges of this magnitude to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who handles sex crime cases as soon as possible.
Timothy L. Healy defends individuals arrested for sex crimes or other serious misdemeanor and felony charges. Call the 24-hour hotline at 888-312-3093 for a free and confidential consultation.
Todd Beamer High School teacher arrested in sex case, Oct. 6, 2012, By Adam Lynn, The News Tribune
More Blog Entries:
Consent a Non-Issue in Alleged Sex Crimes Involving Minors, Aug. 15, 2012, Tacoma Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer Blog