ENGLISH TEACHER WHO WAS ARRESTED FOR HAVING SEX WITH HER STUDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO LESSER COUNT

Police arrested a 27-year-old English teacher and basketball coach in 2012 for having sex with her 17-year-old student while the two were at a motel in Sand Springs, Oklahoma- they were apparently caught red-handed shortly after a parent reported her suspicions to the local police.

Erin Kathleen Queen pled guilty in March of this year to a lesser charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor while he was under her supervision. The statute makes it a felony to supply alcohol to a student who is at least 16 but less than 18 when the provider of alcohol is at least 18 and a teacher in a position of supervision.

She was initially charged with the more serious felony offense of second-degree rape and a misdemeanor alcohol count. The count she pled to carries up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. However, the plea agreement called for three years of probation, $600.00 fine, and voluntary surrender of her teaching license.

COMMENT: It is common among the states to establish the legal age of consent to be at 16; that means a person 16-years-of-age or older, can lawfully consent to have sexual relations with someone 16 or older (absent special circumstances including incest or mental capacity). However, most states make it a crime to have sexual relations with someone you have a position of authority or supervision over; this includes teacher/student relationships.

When such a position exists, the student must be at least 18. In most states, the same is true for babysitters, doctor/patient, employer/employee, and similar relationships. The public policy behind such laws is that a young person in such a relationship is vulnerable and incapable of giving true consent.

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